The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year, more than 330,000 total hip replacement procedures occur in the United States. These hip replacements—whether total or partial, single or double—are designed to eliminate intense joint pain, increase patient mobility, and reduce the effects of arthritis or other bone injuries like osteonecrosis.
However, over the last decade, tens of thousands of hip replacement failure injury reports have surfaced nationwide. These complaints recount debilitating complications that have left hip replacement recipients suffering physical, psychological, and financial side effects. The effects are often worse than the initial pain and suffering that led to the replacement surgery.
Lawsuits Have Been Filed and Recalls Have Been Issued Because of Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Injuries
In 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics recalled its ASR XL Acetabular System. In 2012, Styker Orthopaedics Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Stem were recalled. Other products from companies such as DePuy, Wright Medical Technology, Zimmer Holdings, and Biomet were not officially recalled, but resulted in similar injuries to the products that were recalled.
In late 2013, National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the United Kingdom were banned from using most metal-on-metal hip replacements. More specifically, draft guidelines required NHS hospitals to stop using any hip implant that has a failure rate that is greater than five percent within five years after surgery. The change in practice allegedly results from the findings of a study that reported a high rate of failure among metal-on-metal hip replacements. The study included 17,000 patients and reportedly found failure rates as high 43 percent for some metal-on-metal hip replacement devices.
By 2010, multiple class action lawsuits had been filed in the United States against metal-on-metal hip manufacturers such as DePuy Orthopaedics. The lawsuits alleged that the companies knew of the dangers while their products were on the market and failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks.
Common Complications With Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Devices
The failures of metal-on-metal hip replacement products result from the breakdown of the metal-on-metal components. The resulting effects can have damaging outcomes that can last a lifetime for hip replacement recipients and may include:
- Fractured femurs or other broken bones at the site of the hip replacement. The metal socket may rub against the existing bone, causing the weaker bone to snap or crack.
- Blood toxicity (poisoning) from metal debris or metallosis. The two metal components are constantly grinding against each other, causing tiny metal particles to be released into the bloodstream. These particles may build up, causing a form of blood poisoning called metal toxicity.
- Hip dislocation or hip loosening. If the patient twists, bends or stretches improperly, the hip implant device may become dislodged, causing severe pain.
- Muscle or tissue necrosis (death) from insufficient blood flow to affected area.
- Continual limping.
- Inability to walk extended distances.
- Extreme pain while sitting or climbing.
- Infection. Implanted devices may not heal properly, increasing the risk of infection.
These complications can cause patients to experience extended recovery times, lengthy periods of lost work and wages, and daily pain that can lead to permanent disability. Multiple corrective or revision surgeries and extensive rehabilitation therapy may be required.
Why Are These Defective Hip Implants on the Market?
Manufacturers want to make as much money as possible and often use the quick approval process allowed by the FDA to get their new hip replacement devices on the market as soon as possible. This FDA loop hole allows them to skip most of the testing and reporting and proceed to sell their products. The Institute of Medicine has claimed that this system is fatally flawed and that it needs to be abolished.
List of Defective Hip Replacement Implant Devices
The types of defective hip replacements that result in these types of complications include several models from different manufacturers including:
DePuy Orthopaedics manufactured the following defective hip replacement implant devices:
- ASR Hip Resurfacing System. This device was not approved for use in the United States, but it did receive regulatory approval in other countries. The failure rate for this device was found to be approximately 43 percent nine years following surgery. The ASR Hip Resurfacing System replaces the ball portion of the hip and has a metal stem that fits into the top of the hip bone, or femur.
- ASR XL Acetabular System. DePuy Orthopaedics recalled this product in 2010 because of data that showed higher than expected rates of patients needing a second hip replacement procedure following months of pain and potentially dangerous complications. The ASR XL Acetabular System is a concave metal piece used to provide a smooth lining for the acetabulum, the bowl-shaped socket in the pelvis.
- Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal Acetabular Cup Liner. In August 2013, DePuy pulled this Pinnacle product from the market. While there was no formal recall, patients suffered many of the same complications as they did with other types of metal-on-metal hip replacements.
DePuy Orthopaedics is a division of Johnson & Johnson.
In 2016, Stryker voluntarily recalled LIFT™ Anatomic CoCr V40™ Femoral Heads that were made prior to 2011. These parts of hip replacement devices attach to the hip stems. They have been recalled by Stryker because their locks may fail or break when used with the following types of Stryker hip implants:
- Accolade Rejuvenate®
- ABG 2®
When a lock breaks serious complications including pain, falls, and life-threatening conditions may result.
This recall comes after a 2012 recall of two Stryker hip replacements that were considered potentially dangerous because of a cited risk of fretting and corrosion at the modular neck joint. This put patients at risk of suffering tissue damage. The specific Stryker hip implants recalled in 2012 included the Rejuvenate® and ABG II® Modular-Neck Stem models.
Wright Medical Technology
The two components of the Wright Conserve Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System can cause particles of metal to build up around the joint, damaging the surrounding tissues. This inflammation causes the implant to loosen, causing severe pain for the patient. There is also speculation that the devices are short-lived: an Australian study found that the stem of the Wright Profemur Z device has an 11.2 percent failure rate after only three years. While not yet recalled, these devices consist of a metal-on-metal design that carries significant risks.
In 2008, Zimmer suspended production of the Durom® Acetabular Component (informally called the Durom Cup) for two months following patient reports of defects and complications. The company updated the instructions for surgeons to reduce rejection rates, but the device remains the same—and it remains on the market.
Patients have reported bone damage, allergic reaction, bone loss, and shortening of the leg due to an improper fit of the Biomet M2a-Magnum. Hundreds of complaints have been received by the FDA and many lawsuits have been filed. However, no official recall has been issued for this product.
Compensation for Victims of Defective Hip Replacements
Many victims of faulty hip implants will have to undergo a second procedure that will remove the implant and install a new one. The problem is, many such patients have trouble getting their insurance companies to pay for a second surgery, since they typically only cover one of these surgeries in a certain number of years. However, if you need revision surgery because of a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement, then you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer. Damage awards or settlements can pay for things such as your past, current, and future:
- Medical bills. This includes surgical costs, the new implant, hospital stays, doctors’ visits, rehabilitation therapies, and any other medical costs.
- Pain and suffering. You deserve compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering.
- Loss of income. You may be unable to work, or another family member may be unable to work while he or she is taking care of you.
- Loss of consortium. You, and your family, may be unable to do the things you once enjoyed together and your relationships may suffer. You may be able to recover for these changes or losses.
- Out-of-pocket costs. You may have to hire someone to help you with personal care, transportation or housework, for example, and these costs may be compensable.
- Punitive damages. In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages for your injuries.
However, you are going to have to fight for your fair recovery of all of these damages.
Why You Need an Experienced Kentucky Hip Replacement Lawyer
Some manufacturers who are offering settlements are telling injured patients that they do not need a lawyer. However, while Stryker’s website, for example, tells patients that they do not need an attorney for their Stryker hip replacement case, there are a number of reasons you should consider asking for legal advice before contacting the claims adjusters.
For instance, on its recall information page Stryker assure patients that: “Stryker is committed to working with patients to address medical costs relating to this voluntary recall. Stryker will be reimbursing patients for testing, treatment, revision surgery, if necessary, and other costs relating to this voluntary recall.”
This promise of payment is vague at best, as the announcement does not clarify how it will determine which patients have to undergo “necessary” surgery. If the company does not believe your device failed to the point of early replacement, you may not be reimbursed for the costs of re-implantation and additional hospital stays.
In addition, there has been no indication or description of the “other costs” patients may have suffered—or how much the company will pay for them. It is rare that companies will choose to pay victims for all costs related to a recall injury, such as lost time and wages from work, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses caused by a defective device.
If you decide to pursue a case on your own, it is important to consider:
- The money you will be spending. Going through the discovery process and litigation can be very expensive. Filing an action on your own could deplete your life savings and then some.
- The time you will be spending. Keeping track of discovery tasks, litigation deadlines, and other information that is important to your case can take many hours a week.
- What you risk if you never recover damages. You may spend all of this money and time, and still not recover the damages to which you are legally entitled.
But there’s another option. Gray & White Law has already filed lawsuits on behalf of Kentucky patients hurt by defective metal-on-metal hip replacements.
Contact Gray and White Law Today
At Gray & White, we have had a history of success in working through the complicated details of defective hip replacement cases throughout Kentucky. Our team of attorneys has helped numerous Kentucky victims receive multi-million dollar settlements for their medical-related injuries, and may be able to help you receive full and fair compensation.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis, we are committed to each individual’s full recovery, and we have more than 10 years of success with defective hip implant cases. Our local lawyers can provide you with convenience and a personal relationship, combined with our experience getting justice from big pharmaceutical companies. To get answers to your defective hip replacement surgery questions, please call our Louisville law offices today.