Recently, metal-on- metal implants have been replacing traditional hip implants. However, thousands of individuals have suffered injuries linked to these new implants. Even though these new implants arose from the need and desire to cure human inflictions, metal- on- metal hip implant manufacturers are facing lawsuits that allege that their implants are defectively designed and have a high failure rate. We have handled these types of cases against Stryker and DePuy and there are others who manufacture these implants.
A metal femoral component (the “ball”) and acetabular receiver (the “socket”) replace the injured elements to keep a patient moving. However, these pieces are made of chromium, cobalt, nickel, titanium, and molybdenum.
Complications associated with metal-on-metal hip replacement devices include:
- Limited mobility in the hip joint
- Clicking or crunching in the hip
- Loosening in the hip
- Groin pain
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about some hip metal implants due to injuries. Specifically, metal can be released from the implant. These tiny metallic particles can enter the patient’s blood stream and cause a condition known as metallosis. Metallosis can cause soft tissue damage, which can cause pain, loosening of the implant, and device failure. Patients may also suffer general hypersensitivity reaction, cardiomyopathy, neurological changes (such as visual impairments), depression or cognitive impairment, fatigue, renal function impairment, and thyroid dysfunction.
A few hip implant devices that have allegedly harmed patients are the DePuy ASR Resurfacing Systems, DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, Stryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG II and Stryker LFIT V40.
For instance, The Safe Patient Project reported that from November 1, 2002 to July 23, 2013, hip implant manufacturers issued 578 recalls. 150 of those were issued by DePuy and 178 were issued by Stryker. Among the reasons for the recall were design flaws, early failure, migration issues, and labeling problems.
DePuy Orthopaedics, which makes the ASR Acetabular System, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, and the Pinnacle Hip Replacement System, settled around 8,000 lawsuits linked to the ASR hip replacement in November 2013. The settlement was worth around $2.5 billion.
In addition, Stryker faces lawsuits linked to its hip replacement systems: Rejuvenate and the ABG II hip system. Stryker’s hip implants have been linked to a high failure rate and metallosis. In 2014, Stryker settled lawsuits concerning the Rejuvenate and the ABG II hip replacement system. Those settlements were valued around $1 billion.
In addition, studies have shown that some devices have failure rates as early as five years after implantation, forcing patients to have painful revision surgery. There are times the patient does not fully recover from the complexities of a revision surgery, which makes the defect more consequential to the patient.