Rottenstein Law Group Welcomes Report of Lubricant Discovery With Potential to Improve Design of Future Metal Hip Implants

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The Rottenstein Law Group, which represents clients with claims stemming from the surgical implantation of hip replacement devices manufactured and sold by DePuy Orthopaedics and other companies, takes some comfort in learning that researchers might have found a way to make all-metal hips less dangerous to recipients.

The Rottenstein Law Group, LLP

According to a piece recently published by Reuters, “a substance that forms in patients with all-metal artificial hips turns out to contain the common lubricant graphite, a discovery that could help in designing longer lasting implants, researchers said.”

Metal-on-metal hip replacement devices were designed to be more durable than traditional implants, which typically employ metal and polyethylene, and to permit a greater range of motion. Unfortunately, as shown in a study sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, patients who receive all-metal hips are more likely to need “revision” surgery than those who have traditional devices implanted. In 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics recalled an entire line of metal-on-metal hip devices, which were failing at a higher-than-expected rate.

But a new study—funded by the National Institutes of Health, conducted by U.S. and German scientists, and published in the journal Science—suggests that “graphitic carbon in a lubricating layer that forms on the surfaces of the ball and socket in implanted metallic hips [results from] friction when the two surfaces slide together. Previous research had identified the existence of the layer, but it was assumed to be made of proteins,” according to the Reuters piece. “[The] findings could help scientists design future metal hips that are less vulnerable to wear and corrosion. For example, device makers could try to enhance the formation of the graphite or develop a way to make it adhere better to the metal.”

“Metal-on-metal hips were designed to wear longer and can accommodate larger femoral heads, which lowers the risk of hip dislocation,” The Reuters piece notes. “But they produce debris in the body that can release metal ions into the blood stream.

More than 450,000 Americans, most with severe arthritis that limits their ability to walk, undergo hip replacement each year. The devices, made of combinations of metals, polymers and ceramics, typically last more than a decade, but their failure rates rise beyond 10 years. Manufacturers include Zimmer Holdings Inc, Wright Medical Group Inc, Smith & Nephew Plc and DePuy.”

The Rottenstein Law Group maintains a website with information about DePuy’s problematic hip implants at The site has features that allow for easy sharing, including links for automatic posting on Facebook and Twitter.

The Rottenstein Law Group is a New York-based law firm that represents clients in mass tort actions. The firm was founded by Rochelle Rottenstein, who has more than two decades of experience as a lawyer, to represent clients hurt by defective medical devices.
The Rottenstein Law Group LLP
Rochelle Rottenstein, Esq.
1259 Veeder Drive
Hewlett NY 11557
(212) 933-9500 (office phone)
(212) 933-9980 (facsimile)

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Rochelle Rottenstein, Esq.
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