IT has now emerged that healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson continued to market an artificial hip in Europe even after the Food and Drug Administration rejected its sale in the US based on a review of company safety studies.
This breaking news comes hot on the heels of the breast implant fiasco and it has left thousands of hip replacement patients wondering if the Johnson & Johnson prosthesis was used in their surgery.
An estimated 5,000 lawsuits involving the device are already pending, including some from patients crippled by tiny particles of metallic debris shed by the implants.
So what can you do?
First, don’t panic. You may not have a metal-on-metal implant.
Not all hip implants use this design; some use a combination of metal and plastic, or ceramic components.
Moreover even if metal-on-metal was used, those with a metal ball and socket under 36mm diameter do not appear to have problems.
However, patients with implants with larger metal balls over 36mm diameter should make sure they have a blood test every year for the life of the implant and not every five years as previously recommended.
They should also have an MRI scan if their ion levels are seen to be rising which could indicate a need to replace the joint.
Most importantly, if you do have this type of hip replacement and have experienced any new or different symptoms relating to your hip within three months or more of having the surgery, see your surgeon.
Symptoms of leaching metals can include pain, swelling, numbness or a change in how easy it is to walk.
For more information visit www.simplecarehealthplan.com
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