Hip implants which have left thousands of British people in pain after they were given the wrong-sized hip implants.
The implants were manufactured incorrectly at a factory in Yorkshire by DePuy, one of the world's largest hip replacement firms. DePuy has admitted 'an error in the measuring techniques' when making controversial metal-on-metal implants.
‘Hip implants manufacturer DePuy admits an error in the measuring techniques when making metal-on-metal implants, which has been used for over 23,000 patients.’
AdvertisementThe company bosses are now under intense pressure from victims of the hip scandal to answer questions on how long the firm was aware of the problem, amid claims that potentially faulty components were sold for years.
Since 2003, over 350,000 people have been fitted with at least one DePuy implant in England and Wales. Of these, over 23,000 were metal-on-metal implants. Two types of hip implants were affected by production issues, both metal-on-metal versions that are no longer used.
Health experts said that regulators should intervene and for those with the faulty implants, more regular health check-ups should be carried out and remove or replace the implants.
Metal-on-metal hip implants should be replaced sooner than other implants due to their higher wear rates - and experts have claimed that as the metal hips wear, they can deposit toxic ions into the bloodstream. It was previously believed that this problem was caused by the materials used and by hips' design. But this could be due to a potentially serious manufacturing problem.
Stephen Cannon, the honorary consultant at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital and vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that manufacturing issues could lead to problems.
"If [parts of the implants] don't match, whether it be metal against metal or metal on plastic, then the wear rate goes up. If the measurements were misjudged or inaccurate that could increase the risk of 'high wear rate'. We're not 100 percent sure why DePuy have the problem more than anyone else. This could be contributory, without any doubt."
DePuy admitted that there was a manufacturing issue at its Leeds plant but insists that it did not have any safety implications. But the US Food and Drug Administration raised concerns about the production processes for specific components as early as 2011.
DePuy said that the 'size' issue related to the manufacture of a metal-on-metal liner - the Ultamet, which was part of its Pinnacle range until 2013. A spokesman said it became aware of the issue in 2008, and it thoroughly investigated. The firm concluded there were no safety issues and the 'equipment causing the issue was removed from the manufacturing line', but DePuy would not say when.