An article in the Star Tribune pointed out a surprising trend in the last decade — the uptick in the number of middle-aged Americans receiving implant surgeries and other medical procedures typically reserved for those over age 65.
According to the Star Tribune’s analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the period from 2000 to 2010, the number of patients aged 45 to 64 who had a hip replacements went up 132%, while knee replacement procedures increased 213%, and pacemakers were up 63%.
Those seeking these early surgeries are doing so in an effort to stay active longer or to increase performance as they age, but what feels like a new lease on life now, could have harsh repercussions later, leaving them debilitated or at an increased risk of complications and even premature death.
METAL-ON-METAL HIP IMPLANTS: A COMMON PROCEDURE WITH UNCOMMON RESULTS
Joint replacements, previously reserved for the elderly, have recently become among the most common procedures requested by middle-aged Americans. This trend caught the eye of major medical device companies, who increasingly market their products to younger audiences.
Because traditional ceramic hip replacements, prone to breakage, resulted in more limited mobility and usually only lasted a decade or so before further replacement was required, younger patients desired an implant that would last longer, be more flexible, and go harder. Because metal-on-metal hip replacement manufacturers rushing the approval process to get new models to market to meet the increasing demands of a younger consumer, failure rates have risen.
These metal-on-metal hip replacement products were touted as the alternative, but have in many cases turned out to be a patients’ worst nightmare. Recalls of both metal-on-metal hip and knee replacement implants have occurred at much higher rates in recent years, with many of the thousands of affected consumers including these younger patients, who will have to deal with the adverse after-effects for many years to come.
With 430,000 joint replacement procedures performed nationwide on patients under age 65 in 2010 and rising obesity rates in this country (which put added stress on joints) the trend of medical device implants at younger ages is not expected to be affected – despite the increased risks for failure.
But as we’ve seen in the cases of Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II replacement systems, which require revision surgery at approximately three times the normal rate of other hip replacement devices, medical device manufactures who want to capitalize on this growing trend must employ the proper testing in order to ensure not only the safety and well-being of their implant recipients but also to avoid the kind of negative publicity and legal wrangling that they must now answer to.
If you or a loved one has received an implant of the recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems you or they should be assessed immediately by their physician for local tissue reactions (like necrosis in surrounding tissue) and have blood testing to rule out metallosis — even if you/they are not experiencing any ill effects or pain at this time. Call us today for a free confidential consultation.