DePuy Orthopaedics Hit with New Metal-on-metal Hip Implant Recall

People in New Zealand, Australia, and some parts of Europe have been notified about the recall of another faulty metal-on-metal hip implant, this time on the MITCH THR device, manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics and distributed by Stryker Corp.

According to a news release from New Zealand regulators Medsafe, a total of 41 people on the island nation face a dilemma with the MITCH THR hip implant. The device has been identified as having an early failure rate, specifically three years after it has been implanted. The all-metal hip joint joins a dubious group of similar implants which have failed recipients earlier than expected and put them at risk of serious injury or of toxic metal poisoning.

The main deficiency identified with the MITCH THR implant is “loosening and movement of part of the hip joint replacement.” In New Zealand, the recalled hip implant was used sparingly from 2006 until 2010. The MITCH device was also available in Australia, the United Kingdom, and other select parts of Europe. There is no indication from the release exactly how many people currently rely on the recalled device worldwide.

Despite the recall, Medsafe is not warning recipients to have their implants replaced immediately, rather to have their surgeon or physician conduct annual tests for any signs of wear or damage that could lead to further complications or require an early revision or replacement surgery. At least three New Zealanders have undergone revision or replacement surgery since receiving the MITCH THR implant.

The MITCH THR hip implant was manufactured by Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd., a company acquired by DePuy Orthopaedics in December 2009, less than a year before that company was forced to issue a recall on an all-metal hip implant it manufactures, the ASR hip replacement system.

Like any metal-on-metal hip implant currently available, the MITCH THR, DePuy ASR, and DePuy Pinnacle all pose serious risks of injuries and complications due to a defective design that essentially puts a recipient at risk from the first step they take on it.

Most commonly reported as a complication or side effect of a defective all-metal hip implant is pain and inflammation at the site of the surgery. This pain may be accompanied by a squeak or pop coming from the hip. It can result in an all-metal hip implant recipient considering painful revision surgeries.

Also linked to all-metal hip implants is a more dangerous side effect, toxic metal poisoning. Because this class of implants features two metal components sliding against each other, there is a strong likelihood any recipient faces a risk of having tiny particles of cobalt and chromium dispersing into the bloodstream through normal wear-and-tear of the devices. If this condition progresses unchecked, recipients of the MITCH THR or any metal hip implants face a risk of these metals accumulating in the bloodstream or collecting in deposits in the body.

Metal poisoning from hip implants has been associated with potential organ damage and organ failure.

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