Artificial Hip Device History
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In 1998, Johnson & Johnson acquired DePuy Synthes, a device company specializing in hip replacement devices. A lot of DePuy’s legal troubles stem from the metal-on-metal hip replacement components that they developed. Shortly after DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implants were approved, patients began reporting adverse events to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Patients claimed that the implanted Pinnacle devices caused metal poisoning, allergic reactions, chronic pain, deep-vein thrombosis, tissue death, and other severe injuries.
In 2013, DePuy discontinued sales of the metal-on-metal implants following stricter artificial hip regulations laid down by the FDA. While the defective hip devices were removed from the market, many patients still lived with the implanted devices and continued to suffer from severe side effects. A large number of these DePuy hip replacement patients also required revision surgery to remove the devices and relieve the side effects.
Following the adverse event reports, lawsuits soon followed.
What Is the DePuy PINNACLE Hip?
The PINNACLE hip is a metal-on-metal hip implant used in hip replacement surgeries. It is designed to replace the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. The socket is a part of the pelvic bone, while the ball is the top of the femur, or thigh bone. In a hip replacement, the artificial joint consists of two components: both the ball and the socket. In the PINNACLE hip replacement, both components are made of metal.
Who Makes the PINNACLE Hip?
The PINNACLE hip replacement is manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics. It is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which acquired the company in 1998. DePuy Orthopaedics, along with DePuy Spine, DePuy Mitek, and Codman, forms DePuy Synthes, which is a part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Group.
DePuy Orthopaedics manufactures medical devices intended to reconstruct joints and bones that are damaged by disease or traumatic injury.
What Are Metal-on-Metal Implants?
A metal-on-metal (or MoM) implant is one in which both the ball and the socket of the replacement joint are metal. Metal is more durable than other materials, so it was expected to increase the life expectancy of the hip replacement. In addition, another advantage of the metal-on-metal hip replacement was that the ball component was larger than in implants using other materials. This was expected to increase stability and prevent dislocation.