Wright Medical Hip Implant Metal-on-Metal

What Does Metal-on-Metal Mean?

Until about ten years ago, orthopedic implants were made from hard plastic or ceramic.

More recently, some implants have been made using all metal components. Metal-on-metal means that the parts of the implant that slide against each other are made of metal – cobalt and chromium. It was thought the metal would help the parts glide together more smoothly, dislocate less often and be more durable.

Two main parts of the hip implant are metal. They are the artificial cup, or socket, and the artificial ball, a globe-shaped part of the device that is at the top of the implant stem. The stem is inserted into the patient's femur or thigh bone. The ball at its top articulates within the socket, or acetabulum.

Patients and their doctors are finding that the implants are failing much sooner at a higher rate than previous implants, often within three to five years. Over 6 percent of patients with artificial hip implants had to replace them more often than every five years. Artificial hip implants are expected to survive for about 15 years.

In addition, doctors and patients have discovered that the metal parts, when they rub together, shed minute particles of debris, which can cause problems such as:

  • Irritation of the soft tissue and bone that surround the implant
  • Swelling and inflammation at this intersection
  • If the metal particles travel through the bloodstream, they can infiltrate distant organs and tissues

Before these problems became apparent, approximately one-third of metal-on-metal implants were used in somewhere near 250,000 hip replacement surgeries performed every year. That number is declining as the failure rate of the implants has come to light.

"In my personal opinion there is very little room, if any, for metal-on-metal implants because the alternatives we have on the market are likely safer and as effective," said Dr. Art Sedrakyan, professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

FDA to Review Safety of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Unlike other countries, the U.S. has not had a registry to follow the performance of metal-on-metal implants over time.

In late June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting to consider the problems of the metal-on-metal implants and discussed combining data from the U.S. and other countries to find which groups of patients and implants presented the most problems.

Metal-on-metal implants were approved by the FDA under their fast-track system. According to this program, new devices that are similar to ones already approved and on the market, may also receive FDA approval. The fast-track approach has come in for much criticism from people who say these devices are not being adequately tested for safety and efficacy.

Talk to a Defective Hip Implant Lawyer

If you've experienced problems with an artificial hip implant, causing you to require revision surgery, you should speak with one of our defective hip implant lawyers. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries.

Get Help Now


We are helping families across the country to get the compensation they are due.

Simply fill out this form or call
Free. No Obligation.

Miller Legal LLP
700 12th Street, N.W. Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Note: The use of the Internet for communications with the firm will not establish an attorney-client relationship and messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent. I agree that submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship and that the information I am providing may be used to check for conflicts of interest to determine if the firm can assist me with my legal inquiry. I Agree:*

Latest Metal On Metal Updates

  • Thousands in Britain given Wrong Size DePuy Hips

    January 26, 2016

    Thousands of people have required hip implant revision surgery or suffered serious complications after metal-on-metal or modular hip implant systems failed after being placed in their bodies. Now, however, thousands of hip recipients in Great Britain have a new defective … Read more

  • High Rate of Failure Reported in Apex K2 Hip

    December 15, 2015

    Yet another metal-on-metal hip implant has been associated with a higher-than-expected risk of premature implant failure, infection, and additional dangerous side effects. This time, it’s the Apex K2 hip implant made by OMNI, which may fail as little as one … Read more

  • $11M Jury Award in Defective Wright Conserve Hip Trial

    December 1, 2015

    The first of the bellwether trials scheduled for the centralized Wright Conserve defective hip lawsuits resulted in an $11 million jury award last week. All of the lawsuits filed in federal courts by plaintiffs who claim that they suffered injury … Read more

  • First Wright Conserve Defective Hip Lawsuit goes before Jury

    November 12, 2015

    Earlier this week, the first bellwether trial in the Wright Conserve defective hip lawsuit MDL began. When multiple plaintiffs file federal lawsuits against a common defendant based on similar claims, it is sometimes favorable to streamline the justice process by … Read more

  • Global Hip Implant Market Predicted to Grow

    May 27, 2015

    Despite thousands of personal injury lawsuits and adverse event reports regarding allegedly defective and dangerous hip implants with a high rate of premature failure, market and research experts state that the global market for hip replacement will increase dramatically in … Read more

  • FDA takes steps to Improved Medical Device Surveillance

    March 16, 2015

    Regulators from the FDA have joined with researchers from the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform to lay out improvements for postmarket surveillance of medical devices. The goal is to learn about potentially defective medical devices and other … Read more

  • Plaintiff in Smith & Nephew Hip Lawsuit must Amend Claim

    February 6, 2015

    With so many defective hip lawsuits making news lately, potential plaintiffs may not realize that they still need to make legally sound claims when they pursue compensation for allegedly defective hip implants. Deborah Becker recently learned this lesson when the … Read more

  • Has your Hip been Recalled or Deemed Defective?

    January 15, 2015

    Recently, defective hip implants have received heavy media coverage as plaintiffs continue to come forward to file personal injury lawsuits after they experience injury or premature hip implant failure due to allegedly defective medical devices. What makes these stories particularly … Read more

  • Study Supports Claims of Metal-on-Metal Hip Injuries

    June 26, 2014

    A recent study has presented evidence in support of claims that metal toxicity may lead to an early failure rate for metal-on-metal hip recipients. The study, published in March 2014 in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, compared levels … Read more

  • Recipients of Metal Hip Implants Should be Tested for Injury

    May 8, 2014

    A consumer advocacy group urges all recipients of metal hip implants to undergo an MRI to identify any signs of premature implant failure or dangerous side effects. Our network of national defective hip implant lawyers agree with the group and … Read more

We Can Help

Are You Having Problems with Your ASR Hip Implant?

Contact Us Today