Following its review of federal data, the New York Times discovered that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more than 5,000 reports about metal-on-metal hip implants since January of this year, a number that exceeds what the agency previously received regarding these devices from the past for years combined. The recent surge in complaints about failed hip replacements suggests that serious problems with the devices continue to plague patients, as researchers continue to evaluate the health risks associated with the faulty implants.

The vast majority of complaints are coming from patients who have had a metal-on-metal hip replaced after only a few years, which is unusual considering the average “life” of a hip implant is approximately 15 years. The steady stream of complaints confirm what experts have feared all along, that all-metal hip implants are on the verge of becoming the most costly medical implant problem since the 2007 recall of a heart device manufactured by Medtronic.

Patients with metal-on-metal hip implants are experiencing crippling injuries as a result of tiny particles of cobalt and chromium that the metal devices shed as they wear. One of the most problematic devices is the A.S.R. (Artificial Surface Replacement), which was recalled by Johnson & Johnson last year, accounting for more than 75 percent of all complaints reviewed by The New York Times.


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