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Complaints regarding hip implants continue to rise

There has been a recent surge in the number of complaints regarding hip implants. While hip implants are not normally considered to be dangerous products, the stories of people in Maryland and across the country who have been incapacitated by something that was designed to help them continue to mount. Researchers are currently looking into the health dangers of these implants, but their findings are not coming fast enough for the people who are having difficulty with their hip implants.

Since January of 2011, there have been more than 5,000 complaints logged by the Food and Drug Administration regarding the widely used, metal-on-metal hips. Hip replacements are designed to last at least 15 years, but the complaints received by the FDA were largely from people whose hip implants failed after only a few years. Some of these individuals had already had surgery to remove the hip implant, and others were scheduled for that surgery.

Experts now fear that the metal-on-metal hip implants are going to become the largest medical implant problem since 2007, when a commonly used component of a heart device was recalled by Medtronic. Despite the fact that the hip implant problem is not a life-threatening issue, people have suffered debilitating injuries.

The hip implants can shed small chromium and cobalt particles as they develop wear from use. Those particles can cause extreme pain. That pain can keep patients who have had hip implants from having the expected range of movement and quality of life they were anticipating. Because metal-on-metal hip implants are so common, it is clear that something must be done to address the problem.

Source: New York Times, "Hip Implant Complaints Surge, Even as the Dangers Are Studied," Barry Meier and Janet Roberts, Aug. 22, 2011

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