October 23, 2014

Biomet Hip Implants

Biomet manufactures a number of products, including metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. Some patients have been reporting problems with their Biomet metal-on-metal hip implants, requiring them to need surgery to fix the problem. If you’ve experienced problems with your hip implant, contact our defective hip implant lawyers for a free review of your case. We may be able to help you get compensation for your suffering.

Biomet M2a Hip Implants

Biomet Orthopaedics began to manufacture its M2a hip implants in May 1996. Since then, five more types of metal-on-metal hip implants in the M2a line have been produced, the latest being the M2a-Magnum™ which was introduced in February 2006.

Design Features

The Biomet M2 a hip implant is made to replace the hip of persons whose own hip has degenerated due to injury or arthritis. The implant is composed of structures that mimic the person’s natural hip joint:

  • The hip socket or acetabulum
  • The ball or femoral head
  • The stem which is attached to the femoral head and is inserted into the thigh bone or femur (in the natural structure, the thigh bone ends with the femoral head on top)

The implant, like the prosthesis, is a true ball and socket joint. The ball rotates within the artificial socket as the patient moves.

The Biomet M2a ball and socket implant in recent years has been made of a metal alloy, a combination of Cobalt, Chromium and Molybdenum. But these implants have been found to cause some serious risks.

Some of the complications have been linked to the metal-on-metal components; the metal parts shed tiny particles of debris as they rub against each other when the person moves the hip. This metal debris can inflame surrounding soft tissues and also build up in the blood, causing an increase of metal ions in the blood stream. This is a concern to doctors and researchers. This is such a concern, in fact, the FDA has ordered companies that produce metal-on-metal hip implants to conduct studies about the safety of these implants.

Risk of Failures

Previous hip implants that are made from ceramic or hard plastic parts typically last 15 years or longer.  The medical journalThe Lancet published a study of the longevity of metal-on-metal hip implants that showed these failed at a six percent rate in five years. This compares to a failure rate of 1.7 to 2.3 percent seen in their plastic or ceramic counterparts.

Complications and Revision Surgery

A number of reasons account for the failure of the metal-on-metal hip implants. These include:

  • Tissue necrosis (death)
  • Increased levels of cobalt and chromium ions in the blood (the ions sometimes spread to other organs and tissues distant from the implant site including the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidneys; some researchers also have been concerned about the debris shed from the prostheses being linked to cancer)
  • Pain at the implant site (sometimes this pain will spread to the groin and back)
  • Osteolysis (bone loss)
  • Collection of fluids and formation of solid masses around the hip joint
  • Dislocation of the joint
  • Fracture of a part of the implant

Revision Surgery

Revision surgery is the surgery that is done when a hip implant fails and a new one is inserted in its place. Revision surgery usually is more difficult for the doctor to perform and less successful than the original surgery. Much of this is because of destruction of tissue and bone at the implant site.

Corrosion where the femoral head meets the stem of the implant that is inserted into the thigh has been a problem. Also, larger femoral heads may be used, which present their own set of problems such as not fitting properly or dislocating.

A lawsuit filed May 30, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims that more than 350 adverse event reports having to do with the Biomet hip replacement have been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration against Biomet.

Talk to a Hip Implant Lawyer

If you’ve had problems with your hip implant, requiring you to go through a painful revision surgery, you may be eligible for financial compensation. To learn more, contact our defective hip implant lawyers today.