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According to a new report from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, people who get metal hip replacements are more likely to need another surgery within seven years to replace the device than people who get traditional plastic hip implants. The data from the registry shows that nearly "14 percent of patients who got an all-metal replacement needed the joint removed or replaced after seven years. That compares with just three percent of patients who got a joint made of plastic and needed a replacement within the same time."

A previous report based on data from this registry on the failure rate of DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants made by a division of Johnson & Johnson led to its recall by the US Food and Drug Administration. Among patients who received the DePuy metal hip, almost 30 percent needed a new one. Since that recall, usage of all-metal hip replacements has decreased. In 2006, metal hip replacements were used in about 15 percent of procedures; that’s now dropped to about 5 percent.

Traditional hip replacements usually last more than 10 years, but British officials noted some of the metal hip replacements were failing within a few years. TThis is ironic, since the manufacturers, like DePuy, marketed their metal implants as being more durable and longer lasting. The average age of patients getting hip replacements was 67, many of whom purchased a metal implant believing it would last for the rest of their life. Instead, they are facing traumatic revision surgery.

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