According to the FDA, all artificial hip implant systems pose potential risks associated with implant or material wear. Metal-on-metal hip replacement systems are known especially to have unique risks in addition the basic risks of all hip implant systems. Since the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other when an individual walks or runs, it is possible for tiny metal particles to wear off of the hip implant device and enter into the space around the implant. When this happens, some of the metal ions from the metal implant or from the metal particles can make their way into a person's bloodstream. Failed implants require Zimmer hip revision surgery, which is a lengthy, painful process.
Many metal-on-metal hip replacements have been linked to a high rate of early failure. In July 2008, a Zimmer Hip recall was issued for more than 12,000 of the metal hip implants, after it was discovered that a higher-than-expected number were failing within a few years of surgery. Similar problems have been reported in connection with other metal-on-metal hip implants sold by other companies. Common signs that a hip replacement system, like the ones manufactured by Zimmer and others, may not be functioning accurately include swelling at or near the hip joint; pain or discomfort in the hip, leg, or groin; and, a limp or change in walking capability. Victims suffering from Zimmer hip failure are advised to consult with an experienced Zimmer hip lawyer as soon as possible.