Designed and manufactured by DePuy, the Pinnacle Hip Replacement system resembles other total hip replacement systems; it consists of two primary parts: the outer cup or “socket” and the inner “ball” of the joint. When the hip replacement is installed, the ball rotates in the socket, simulating the movement of the natural human hip joint.
One feature the Pinnacle offers that other DePuy hip replacements do not is the option to choose between a metal liner for the socket or a plastic polyethylene liner. While the choice may seem unimportant at first glance, it can have serious consequences.
A few years ago, DePuy made headlines when its ASR metal-on-metal hip replacements were recalled. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that when the metal surface of the hip ball rubbed against the metal lining of the cup, metal particles released into the patient’s body, causing high levels of potentially dangerous metals like cobalt and chromium to enter the blood, bone, and other tissues. The friction that releases these metal particles can be caused by ordinary, everyday use of the hip replacement – activities like walking or running.
Currently, DePuy asserts that the Pinnacle has no such defect, and the FDA has allowed the Pinnacle with the metal liner to be sold based on its similarity to another DePuy hip replacement system, the Ultima. However, some scientific studies surrounding the use of the Ultima have raised concerns that problems with metals entering the body persist. One study found that 13.8 percent of patients who had an Ultima hip replacement installed needed multiple surgeries to correct problems caused by it – and that symptoms like tissue death and ruptured tendons regularly resulted. Another study tracking Pinnacle users predicts that over 10 percent of the installed Pinnacle devices will fail in the next two to three years.
In the short term, the release of metals near the joint can cause pain, inflammation, and difficulty moving. In the long term, risks include the danger of cobalt poisoning, which can cause severe brain and heart damage. Although the manufacturer recently discontinued some devices with metal liners, many patients who have already had such hip replacement systems installed must watch vigilantly for symptoms.
To obtain appropriate and fair compensation for damages caused by a metal-on-metal hip replacement system like Pinnacle, call 512-499-8900 or email our experienced personal injury lawyers for a free, thorough case evaluation.