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A skyrocketing number of complaints regarding metal-on-metal hip implants could lead to further, wider-reaching recalls as well as widespread product liability claims. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already received more than 5,000 reports of problems with all-metal hip implants this year. That’s not only approximately double the number of complaints from all of 2010, but it’s more than the past four years combined. The deluge of complaints is significant enough that the FDA in May requested that makers of all-metal hip implants study how often the implants are failing and to further assess the risk of metal-on-metal hip implants to patients. Although no life-threatening side-effects have been reported, complaints have included reports of pain, rashes, inflammation and crippling injuries thought to be caused by the implants shedding metallic components. Until the major DePuy hip implant recall last year, all-metal hip implants comprised about one-third of the approximately 250,000 hip implants placed annually, according to an Aug. 22 New York Times article. As with many medical devices that are considered moderate to low risk, most metal-on-metal hip implants were marketed with minimal to no patient testing, and with no follow-up tracking of product performance. For now, an increasing number of surgeons have stopped using all-metal hip implants in favor of alternatives that are considered safer, such as implants that combine metal and plastic elements. Meanwhile, the FDA is awaiting reports from metal hip implant manufacturers and will review the matter in greater detail later this year. If you’ve been harmed due to an all-metal hip implant or other faulty medical device, please contact the Mobile, Alabama, product liability attorneys at Long & Long to schedule your free case evaluation.

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