DePuy Hip Metallosis | DePuy ASR Hip Recall

Hip Metallosis is the Subject of the Latest Lawsuit Against DePuy

Whitney Taylor | September 14th, 2012

A plaintiff that recently filed a lawsuit in Texas alleges that his hip implant device resulted in DePuy hip metallosis that has caused him significant pain and injury. This is a similar complaint that has been seen in more than one DePuy hip class action lawsuit and eventually led to the DePuy ASR hip recall. Although the implant in question in this complaint is the DePuy Pinnacle hip, reports of some problems are common to both.

DePuy metallosis risk not identified at first

This complaint, which was filed in District Court in the Northern District of Texas on August 31, 2012, alleges that the plaintiff, Bruce Bernier, was unaware of the risks associated with the Pinnacle device when he underwent hip replacement surgery in 2008. The Pinnacle device used featured an Ultamet/metal liner, a model that has caused DePuy metal poisoning in some patients. However, Bernier was not told about the dangers presented by the implant at the time of his surgery.

As stated in the complaint, the DePuy Pinnacle hip was introduced to the market in the early 2000s, through a fast track process known as the 510(k) process. This allowed DePuy to gain approval for their device from the FDA without putting the hip implant through a rigorous testing process first. Instead, the manufacturer demonstrated that the Pinnacle implant was similar to an older model introduced by DePuy in 1976. However according to critics, the 501(k) process did not accurately assess the risk of metallosis, which occurs when metal components in the hip joint rub together and release metal particles into the surrounding tissue, bone, and bloodstream. Had the implant gone through a full testing procedure, such a risk may have been identified.

Distinguishing the DePuy ASR hip recall

DePuy hip metallosis is most commonly identifited with the ASR hip device which was recalled in 2010, amid numerous complaints of metallosis and loosening of the implant.  Currently, the ASR is the subject of its own multidistrict litigation as well as a  DePuy hip class action lawsuit.  According to Bernier’s complaint, there is some speculation that another Depuy hip recall may be issued with regard to the Pinnacle device as well.  However, there has been no indication that the device manufacturer intends to issue a recall of the Pinnacle model.

As a result of his Pinnacle hip problems, Bernier has experienced severe pain and disability. He is no longer able to walk without a cane, and constantly feels as though his hip is going to give out. Bernier states that because of his injuries, he may require hip revision surgery in the future. Now, he is now seeking punitive and exemplary damages, as well as compensation for economic and non-economic losses.