Hip Replacement Component Recalls More Common that Most Think

FDA shows over 500 components recalled, with 10% being Class I recalls.

Many products, spanning everything from a simple toy to a new car, can often come with a manufacturers’ warranties. However, that simply does not happen when it comes to modern hip and knee implants, which means that a growing number of individuals are having to handle expensive devices put into their body with a complete lack of assurance of the product.

Over 4 million Americans currently possess knee implants, and the number is expected to grow as life expectancy rates improve. In 2011 there were 711,000 knee replacements performed in the country. Over 500,000 Americans received hip implants. The expected total of the surgeries is expected to reach over 4 million by 2030, with half of such patients being under 65 years old.

With all that said, six major manufacturers of knee implants, Biomet, DePuy, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Wright, Zimmer, have but one warranty between them, and that comes from Biomet. Their warranty is only for a partial knee implant, and not for any other service.

The Consumer Union noted that 709 devices and components were manufactured spanning back one decade. During that time, the companies recalled 578 components that related to hip implants.

Such recalls were considered Class II recalls, which the FDA describes as “a situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.”

Class I, described by the FDA as “a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death,” were over 10% of the total recalls.

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