Whitehall Man with Two Defective Hip Implants Wants to be Heard by the FDA

Whitehall resident Steve Lorenz was just adjusting to his second hip surgery when he received a letter from Johnson & Johnson announced it was recalling thousands of its metal-on-metal hip implants, according to the Lehigh Valley Morning Call Newspaper.

Lorenz, a worker at a Cement Company, depends on his body to earn a living. But the defective implants continue to cause him pain. He and his wife will travel next month to speak before a Food and Drug Administration panel. They hope to persuade the agency to tighten its regulations which allowed the hip implants to reach the market.

Lorenz, now 51, was 48 when he underwent his first hip replacement surgery in December 2008. He suffered with hip pain for about a year before opting for the DePuy ASR XL implants .

The DePuy ASR XL, made by Johnson & Johnson, was one of the most popular hip implants worldwide. Lorenz never recovered properly from the first surgery, experiencing a loosening of the joints, soreness and swelling around his scar.

Lorenz was told that his pain was partly caused by his other hip, which was wearing out. The right hip would also need to be replaced before he could fully recover. Lorenz underwent a second operation in February 2010. He had an even harder time recovering from the second surgery. He struggled to walk.

“If I walk too much at work or if I’m on my feet for too long,” Lorenz said, “by the end of the day I feel as bad, if not worse, as when I needed my first hip replacement.”

Lorenz received the recall notice from DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. Lorenz, soon after received a call from his family physician, who needed to check the levels of cobalt and chromium in Lorenz’s blood.

The DePuy implant is made of chrome and cobalt metals. The friction between the ball at the top of the femur and the socket liner in the pelvis has been shown to release metal debris into the bloodstream.