Doctors’ Groups to Track Defective Hip and Knee Implants

What has happened regarding the safety of artificial hips since last year’s major recall by DePuy Orthopedics?

In August 2010, DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, recalled a hip implant used by 93,000 patients after the implants repeatedly failed prematurely. Over 1,000 lawsuits are already underway against the company for damages caused by the implants.

Most of those product defect cases remain resolved. The notable development right now is that doctors’ groups are taking the lead on developing databases designed to track the success rates of artificial hips and knees across the country.

“We’ve been doing a huge experiment and no one’s been keeping track of the data,” said one doctor involved in the database effort. William Maloney, the vice-chairman of the American Joint Replacement Registry. Maloney is also a professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine.

The AJRR registry is funded by a coalition of groups that includes orthopedic doctors, prosthetic manufacturers, insurance companies, and hospitals. Data collection began in December of last year as a pilot project. The chairman of the AJRR initiative, David Lewallen of the Mayo Clinic, expects the registry to nationwide this year.

The ambitious goal of the project is to gather baseline data on the hundreds of thousands (over 700,000) hip and knee replacement surgeries that are performed around the country every year. A key data point, of course, will be which implants did not function properly and required revision surgery to fix the problem.

If you have questions about DePuy implants, or other defective products, talk with a personal injury lawyer at our firm.

Source: “Medical Groups Tracking Hip, Knee Implants After J & J Recall,” 5-3-11