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Life not the same since metal-on-metal hip implant

Howard’s life has not been the same since he got a metal-on-metal hip implant in 2007. Before his operation, he maintained an active lifestyle and enjoyed spending time with his four grandchildren and competing with his Labrador retrievers at field trials. But just six months after he got his implant, he began limping and experiencing back pain.

By 2010, Howard was living with constant pain and his hip implant repeatedly dislocated. After the third dislocation, the metal hip implant was removed, revealing that all of the tissue and muscle surrounding his hip was gone. That year, Howard spent nine months in the hospital undergoing 12 operations and nearly died. Today Howard gets around in a wheelchair and is working to rebuild his life.

Metal hip implants like the one Howard got have had higher than normal failure rates and have been linked to serious health impacts in some patients from metal particles that wear off the device over time. According to the FDA, these metal particles can cause damage to bone and tissue surrounding the implant and joint like that experienced by Howard, which led to the device’s failure.

Howard believes hip and knee implants should have warranties. He said, “Providing the device was implanted correctly, and providing the patient followed post-operation guidelines including follow up visits as prescribed by your surgeon, the device should last 10-15 years minimum.” Unfortunately, for Howard, his device failed within three years and left him disabled. A good warranty would help ensure that patients will have a clear understanding of how long an implant is expected to last and a process to follow in the event that it fails prematurely.