DePuy PINNACLE Hip

Truth: The PINNACLE hip is a metal-on-metal hip implant, which is supposed to last longer than plastic or ceramic hip implants. 

Truth: Many patients found that their PINNACLE hip replacements were failing, despite the company’s claims that the hip would last longer.

Truth: These patients had to undergo revision surgery to replace their hip implants and experienced other complications.

The PINNACLE hip implant by DePuy was supposed to be a longer-lasting alternative to other types of hip implants. It’s metal-on-metal design was meant to be more durable than the plastic or ceramic models and be less likely to loosen. However, many patients began to experience failures with their PINNACLE hip implants.

Joint replacement failure is painful and can cause injury. In addition, the only way to treat it is to have further surgeries to correct it, often requiring a full replacement of the hip implant. If you have experienced this or any other complications from your PINNACLE hip implant, don’t delay. Contact us now for a free consultation and get the justice you deserve.

What Is the DePuy PINNACLE Hip?

The PINNACLE hip is a metal-on-metal hip implant used in hip replacement surgeries. It is designed to replace the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. The socket is a part of the pelvic bone, while the ball is the top of the femur, or thigh bone. In a hip replacement, the artificial joint consists of two components: both the ball and the socket. In the PINNACLE hip replacement, both components are made of metal.

What Is the DePuy PINNACLE Hip?

Who Makes the PINNACLE Hip?

The PINNACLE hip replacement is manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics. It is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which acquired the company in 1998. DePuy Orthopaedics, along with DePuy Spine, DePuy Mitek, and Codman, forms DePuy Synthes, which is a part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Group.

DePuy Orthopaedics manufactures medical devices intended to reconstruct joints and bones that are damaged by disease or traumatic injury.

What Are Metal-on-Metal Implants?

A metal-on-metal (or MoM) implant is one in which both the ball and the socket of the replacement joint are metal. Metal is more durable than other materials, so it was expected to increase the life expectancy of the hip replacement. In addition, another advantage of the metal-on-metal hip replacement was that the ball component was larger than in implants using other materials. This was expected to increase stability and prevent dislocation.

Metal-on-Metal Implants

Who Needs a Hip Replacement?

No matter what the injury or disease, hip replacement usually isn’t the first option. It’s only after other medical treatments haven’t worked that doctors recommend a hip replacement. The signs that indicate a hip replacement could help are:

  • Bowed leg
  • A doctor has found bone damage in the joint
  • It hurts to:
  • Walk
  • Climb up stairs
  • Do other routine things
  • The joint aches even when not moving
  • Constant pain

It’s important to first determine if it is in fact the hip joint that is causing the issue. Chronic pain can be caused by the back or other area of the body, in which case a hip replacement wouldn’t solve the problem.

Doctors usually try to treat hip pain with the following options:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen)
  • Crutches
  • A walker
  • Cortisone shots
  • Physical therapy

Hip Replacement

Increased Risks of Hip Replacement

Patients are more likely to experience complications of a hip replacement if they have any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung problems
  • Diabetes
  • Blood clots

Other factors that could potentially contribute to complications include smoking or being overweight.

Complications of a Hip Replacement Surgery

All hip replacements come with some risk of complications, regardless of type, brand, or the materials used. Some complications that can occur during the surgery are:

  • An adverse reaction to the anesthesia
  • Heart attack
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Bleeding

Later Complications of Hip Replacement

Other complications and symptoms can occur later, even months or years after the surgery.  These complications can include:

  • Hip dislocation
  • Device wear and tear
  • Osteolysis (bone loss)
  • Loosening of the implant components
  • Bone fracture
  • Joint infection
  • Different leg lengths
  • Nerve damage to tissue around the implant

The risk of device wear and tear was supposed to be decreased with metal-on-metal hip implants. However, no type of hip implant can completely eradicate device wear. In addition, the risk of the other complications was still possible.

Risks of a Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement

In addition to the other possible side-effects of a hip replacement, metal-on-metal hip implants carry their own risks and complications, however. Metal-on-metal implants such as the DePuy PINNACLE hip replacement can give off particles of debris. In addition, they can corrode, which give off ions (for example, cobalt and chromium) and debris that then can enter into the space that’s around the implant, or even into the bloodstream.

Warning Signs of Hip Implant Failure

Signs to look out for that a complication has arisen include:

  • Pain (especially in the groin, leg, or hip)
  • Swelling of the hip joint
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • A noise coming from the hip joint, such as popping, squeaking, grinding, or clicking
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Hip dislocation or fracture
  • Elevated metal content in the blood stream

There is also some risk of seemingly unrelated medical conditions, including:

  • Skin rash
  • Renal impairment
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Depression or cognitive impairment
  • Hearing or visual impairment
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)

Revision and Tests

If someone with a hip replacement is experiencing any of these symptoms, the first step is to consult with a doctor. Any one of the symptoms on the list above could indicate a failure of hip implant, which could require further surgeries, called revisions, to correct. There is a risk of further bone loss with each revision surgery.

Doctors can also run a variety of tests to see if patients with metal-on-metal hip implants like the Depuy PINNACLE hip replacement has caused metal ions to enter the bloodstream or contaminate the joint tissue. These tests include:

Soft Tissue Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computer Tomography Scan (CT scan)
  • Ultrasound
Metal Ion Testing
  • Blood testing

 

 

 

 

The metal ion testing may not be as accurate as any of the soft tissue imaging methods, because the blood sample could be contaminated with metal ions in the process of collecting and processing the sample. 

FDA Concerns

The FDA issued a study of all metal-on-metal hip replacements in 2011 in order to monitor any adverse effects that patients with a hip replacement like the DePuy PINNACLE hip may be experiencing. The FDA then released a statement in 2013 with their findings, which include the concerns listed on the FDA website

Risk of Hip Replacement Failure

With every type of hip replacement, including the metal-on-metal, there is a risk of failure. The DePuy PINNACLE hip was supposed to be longer-lasting than the other types because it was metal-on metal. However, patients began to complain of the PINNACLE hip failing, including making reports to the FDA about its failure. After their PINNACLE hip implants failed, many patients sued Johnson & Johnson for their claims that the PINNACLE hip would last longer due to being a metal-on-metal hip implant, claiming that the company had misrepresented the product and failed to warn patients of what the risks were.

What Is a Hip Replacement Failure?

A hip replacement failure occurs either when the hip implant becomes dislocated from the pelvis or when the component parts of the hip implant are loosened from each other. A hip implant failure can be confirmed via X-ray by a doctor. 

Symptoms of a Hip Implant Failure

While it may be more difficult at first to detect a complication such as metal ions entering the bloodstream, the symptoms of a hip replacement failure are usually more immediately obvious. These symptoms usually involve difficulty walking or chronic pain in the affected hip joint. More symptoms include:

  • Pain (especially in the groin, leg, or hip)
  • Swelling of the hip joint
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • A noise coming from the hip joint, such as squeaking, grinding, popping, or clicking

Complaints about DePuy PINNACLE Hip Devices

Because the DePuy PINNACLE hip is a metal-on-metal hip replacement implant, it carries all of the same risks as any metal-on-metal hip implant. DePuy is currently facing lawsuits over defects in their PINNACLE hip that allege the company had produced a defective product that resulted in numerous failures requiring further surgeries that have a long, painful, and difficult recovery period for the patient.

Design Flaws in the PINNACLE Hip

The complaints against Johnson & Johnson for the PINNACLE Hip were that the hip implant failed due to design flaws. This failure caused tissue death and bone loss around the joint with the hip replacement, as well as other injuries, and necessitated revisions, or more surgeries to replace the hip implant. The patients claimed that the company had failed to adequately warn them of the risks involved in using the DePuy PINNACLE hip.

Litigation Against Johnson & Johnson

The first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over failures of the DePuy PINNACLE hip was in 2014. The patients alleged that Johnson & Johnson had falsely promoted the DePuy PINNACLE hip as being a longer-lasting alternative to the hip implants that were made of either plastic or ceramic. 

The company won that case, but subsequent lawsuits have proven more successful for the plaintiffs. In March of 2016, the plaintiffs were awarded $500 million by a jury in Texas, although that amount was later reduced to $150 million. In 2017, six plaintiffs were awarded $247 million in damages by a jury in Dallas, which was the third successful case of its kind against Johnson & Johnson. In March of that same year, plaintiffs in California were awarded $1 billion, which was later dropped to $543 million.

Should I Consider a PINNACLE Hip Lawsuit?

If you have a DePuy PINNACLE hip implant and have either experienced complications or have had to undergo revision surgery because the implant failed, you can ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not you should sue:

  • Did the failure cause pain and injury?
  • Do you believe that it was due to a design flaw in the PINNACLE hip?
  • Did you have to undergo revision surgery to get a replacement implant?

Consult with a highly experienced Farah & Farah attorney today to determine the strength of your case. The consultation is completely free and there is no cost to you unless the case is successful.

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