MRI Could Catch Zimmer Hip Complications Early
The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be able to help doctors diagnose Zimmer hip complications, potentially before patients begin to experience the pain and other symptoms normally associated with a failing hip implant. Early detection is critical because the sooner the doctors can perform a corrective surgery, the less extensive that surgery will have to be – which can mean a shorter recovery period and a much better prognosis.
Joint inflammation can warn of Zimmer hip complications
According to a study recently published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, if a type of joint inflammation called synovitis shows up on the MRI, it could be a signal that two or more metal components are rubbing against each other in the artificial joint and releasing toxic debris that is harming the surrounding tissue. If this metallosis is allowed to progress, it can cause severe and debilitating side effects including bone loss, soft tissue damage, and permanent pain and disability. The use of magnetic resonance imaging could help doctors diagnose failing implants when the patient is experiencing unexplained pain, or even screen for failing implants before patients experience any symptoms.
MRI screening could be especially helpful for patients who have hip implants that have been recalled, such as the Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component, or Durom Cup. The Durom Cup was subject to an FDA recall in 2008 amid growing concerns that metal-on-metal hip implants were unreasonably dangerous when compared with traditional metal-on-plastic or ceramic hip devices. Patients with recalled hip replacements may be advised to undergo regular screening so doctors can try to diagnose failing implants early and minimize the damage these devices can do. The most common diagnostic procedure now used is a serum ion level test, which measures the presence of toxic metallic particles in the bloodstream, but the author of the MRI study points out that serum ion levels do not indicate the extent of the damage the metallic particles are actually doing, which may differ significantly from patient to patient.
Failing implants spark wave of Zimmer hip lawsuits
The MRI study found that almost 75% of hip implants examined had some level of adverse local tissue reaction, as indicated by the presence of synovitis joint inflammation near the implant. In total, 27% of the hip implants examined showed signs of mechanical failure, including implant loosening or dislocation, bone fracture, or faulty positioning, and 43% of the implants were causing unexplained pain in and around the hip joint. These high levels of hip implant failure have been the driving force behind a wave of litigation alleging product defects in Zimmer hip implants as well as negligence and fraud on the part of Zimmer Corporation itself.
In addition to the production of toxic metallic debris, many Zimmer hip lawsuits allege that the Durom Cup is prone to loosening and detachment because of a flaw in its design. The Durom Cup is supposed to be implanted without adhesive in a way that allows the bone to grow into the device’s special porous surface, but in practice, bone growth often pushes the Durom Cup out of place. The resulting loosening can worsen metal-on-metal wear and make the implant more prone to dislocation, which causes debilitating pain and requires surgical repair. Over 200 Zimmer hip replacement claims are now pending in state and federal court as a result of these alleged defects in the Durom Cup.
- FDA, Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants - Recalls http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/I
- Science Daily, Tissue Damage from Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants Appears Before Pain Symptoms Appear http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515151436.htm
- The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in Symptomatic Versus Asymptomatic Subjects Following Metal-on-Metal Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty http://jbjs.org/article.aspx?articleid=1684770