Patients concerned about hip replacement system recall

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by Sandra Parker

WVEC.com

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 22 at 6:17 PM

NORFOLK -- When Anthony Taflambas got his hip replacement almost two years ago, he thought he would be back to normal after a few weeks.  Instead, he says he's had nothing but problems.

"Kept working out and expecting it to get better but instead it got worse," he said.

As the owner of a hair salon, he's on his feet all day.  He says he's had to take a lot of pain medication just to get through the day.

Then Monday, he got a call letting him know that the ASR XL Acetabular System doctors implanted had been recalled. 

"I was surprised and worried and relieved that it wasn't me 'cause I kept thinking well maybe there's something else wrong with me," he said.

Taflambas' hip replacement is one of two being voluntarily recalled worldwide. 

The other is the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.  Both are made by Johnson & Johnson's artificial joint business DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.   The voluntary recall took place at the end of August. 

This week, Taflambas' doctors at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Newport News are getting all 100 of their patients affected by this recall together to answer questions. 

Dr. Tony Carter says the recall is definitely a concern but not something to panic about.

"Our number one concern is to be the advocate for the patient. We want the best outcome for the patient," he stated.

Dr. Carter says they are going to explain to patients that the recall came about because of research from a British Registry.

"What they found at five years was that there was a 12 to 13% failure rate. The standard industry was about 6 or 7%. So it was about double the industry standard.  Still that means 88% of these are still doing well at five years," he explained.

Anyone with the prosthetic will have to go through tests to make sure they are okay, even if they are not having problems, and DePuy will pay for all medical expenses related to the recall.

Taflambas says that's a nice gesture, but as a small business owner who's booked out about a year in advance, that's not going to pay his bills

"Without my income and without really time to plan, my business would go under and I would lose my house," he stated.

He knows surgery is probably in his future because he doesn't want to put up with the pain.

 "I'm not old and I've got lots to do," he said.

If you have one of the recalled items, first contact your surgeon then call the toll-free DePuy line at 1-888-627-2677. You'll be given a patient ID number to help you get started in what could be a long process. 

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