Pryers Solicitors now act for a large and growing group of patients who have suffered the failure of their DePuy ASR hip. Some received the joint in total hip replacement surgery and some in hip resurfacing.
Most of the cases will be brought as product liability claims against the manufacturer, DePuy, but some may become clinical negligence claims, if the evidence shows that the joint was fitted incorrectly or was not suitable for the patient.
DePuy has already withdrawn the joint from the market and guidance has been issued by DePuy and also by the British Hip Society as to what investigations should be carried out to determine whether a particular patient’s joint has failed or not.
The problem is thought to be caused by the socket’s subhemispheric shape, that is to say that it does not cover as much of the head of the joint as other products do. This means that there is less surface area and therefore higher pressure between the two parts of the joint. Also, there is a groove around the inside rim of the socket, which further reduces the surface area and increases the pressure. The increased pressure forces the body’s natural lubricating fluid out of the joint causing the metal to rub against metal, which soon wears away.
As the joint surface wears, small metal particles break away from the surface of the socket, becoming imbedded in muscles and ligaments around the joint. This causes inflammation, pain and the joint rapidly fails, causing a wide range of other symptoms. The metal particles get into the patient’s blood stream, but it is not yet known what long-term effect this might have.
If the joint has failed, revision surgery will be required, which tends to be more difficult and carries higher risks of complications. Often, a revised hip will not work as well or last as long as a first hip replacement or resurfacing, meaning that the effects of the joint failure will often be life-long.
Studies published so far have shown that the failure rate of the ASR is much higher than that of other similar products and research to be published very shortly will show that the ASR fails more than 10 times faster than the market-leading hip resurfacing product.
Pryers have commissioned expert evidence from engineers and surgeons and are working with other law firms in England, Ireland and the USA towards proving that the ASR hip is defective and obtaining fair compensation for patients who have been injured.
If you have undergone hip replacement or hip resurfacing and have symptoms of joint failure, and believe you might have had an ASR joint, please contact Richard Starkie or Richard Greensit of Pryers Solicitors.
Telephone 0800 316 0166