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FDA Panel Chair Sees “No Reason” to Use Metal-on-Metal Implants

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

By: George Mikhail

With no surprise to our firm, the chair of the FDA hip implant panel, Dr. William Rohr of Mendocino Coast District Hospital, was quoted as saying “I do not use metal-on-metal hips, and I can see no reason to do so.”

Our firm represents hundreds metal-on-metal hip implant clients who already know this information. The FDA has asked a panel to review the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants, however, they did not provide authority to determine any recalls or changes to the faulty practice of using metal devices. The government health experts explain that there are still certain uses for metal-on-metal implants even though there are more and more cases of devices breaking down early and releasing harmful particles in patients.

In previous years, implants were constructed with plastic or ceramic. In the past decade, some surgeons favored metal implants over the previous implants after research indicated that metal devices are more robust and are less likely to dislocate. Recent data out of the U.K., indicated a higher failure rate of the metal-on-metal devices than previous implants. The expected life of the implants are ten to fifteen years, however more than six percent of patients end up replacing the devices within less than five years with the implant. FDA experts have recommended patients to get regular blood tests as well as X-rays if they are having pain or other symptoms.

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