Hip Replacement Problems Reported To FDA On The Rise

An x-ray of a hip replacement.

Hip replacement problems reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are on the uptick, reported the New York Times, primarily due to issues with metal-on-metal artificial hips. The paper reported that the FDA received more than 5,000 complaints to date in 2011 alone.

The New York Times reported that their investigation showed that while hip replacement parts may be expected to last about 15 years, many people are experiencing deterioration or complications that otherwise require a new replacement sooner. Among the complaints to the FDA include reports of problems caused by metallic pieces that wear off metal-on-metal the hip replacement parts as they rub against each other during use. In August of 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc., voluntarily recalled its ASR™ XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System because of complaints about failed hip implants.

The FDA has declared that hip replacement manufacturers begin looking into the issue, according to the New York Times, however collecting that information is a challenge. The FDA’s Dr. William Maisel was quoted by the paper as saying, “There is not an existing infrastructure for studying this kind of information.”

According to MedLinePlus, part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, hip replacement surgery generally includes removal of bone and cartilage from the hip area and replacement of the damaged bone and tissue with artificial parts. Hip replacement parts may be all metal or a combination of metal and plastic parts. Hip replacement is usually suggested after other non-surgical alternatives have been tried, such as medication, physical therapy and exercise. Barring any complications from the hip replacement parts themselves, complications from hip replacement surgery can include blood clots, infections and hip dislocation. In some cases, according to MedLinePlus, physicians may restrict the physical activities of patients who have had hip replacement surgery from certain high-impact activities.
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