Some patients who undergo hip replacemnts have been complaining of sqeaky noises when they move. Their artificial hips are made of ceramic materials were are meant to be being much more durable than older models.
Some 250,000 Americans get total hip implants each year; hip replacements have a success rate of more than 90 percent.
Stryker, a medical products company, began selling highly durable ceramic hips in the United States in 2003. A clinical study in the Journal of Arthroplasty found that 7% of patients who received ceramic hips from 2003 to 2005, developed squeaking. But, no squeaks occurred among a control group of 48 patients who received hips made of metal and plastic.
Patients and their surgeons are concerned that the squeaky ceramic hips may signal that the joints are wearing out. That could lead patients to undergo a second replacement of the same hip joint which they had hoped to avoid by choosing ceramics.
Several patients have elected to endure subsequent surgeries to replace the noisy hips. Some have sued Stryker, which some doctors say has been slow to take their patients’ concerns seriously.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to Stryker, saying it had failed to take the steps needed to prevent squeaking and other problems.
Several surgeons have expressed concern that the ceramic material might shatter, leaving a patient with so many inflammatory shards in the hip that a doctor could never find them all.
Legal Analysis: Time bomb waiting to explode?