About Hip Implant Lawsuits
If either one or both of your hip joints has experienced damage causing you such pain that everyday tasks seem impossible, you may need a hip replacement. When hip joint deterioration is not responsive to other types of treatment (such as physical therapy), a doctor will usually recommend a hip resurfacing or replacement. Arthroplasty has become one of the most common orthopedic procedures today with all the advances in hip replacement design. During a hip replacement surgery, the acetabular socket can be made of ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene, metal, or a combination of polyethylene backed up by metal. Depending on the size of the implant needed, all of these components weigh between 14-18 ounces.
There are 3 different types of hip replacement surgery. During total hip replacement the entire hip joint, ball & socket, and the femoral stem is completely replaced. Partial hip replacement only requires the ball to be replaced. During a hip resurfacing, only the cup is replaced, the ball is not replaced but reshaped, then covered with a metal cap.
Your doctor may or may not use cement to attach these replacement joints. When cemented, the cement acts as a glue to attach the joint to the bone. Uncemented joints use a porous coating to attach, allowing the bone and artificial joint to stick together. The new bone will grow and fill the openings that are in the porous coating over time. The most common method used today is acrylic polymer bone cement called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA).
Manufacturers of Hip Implants and each specific Device/System they sell
Some manufacturers of hip implants have recently been involved in lawsuits due to the patients who received a faulty device. According to these victims, the company failed to warn anyone about these defective hip products made. DePuy alone is facing over 11,000 lawsuits after patients suffered complications after receiving either their ASR hip implant or Pinnacle hip implant.
Other manufacturers of hip implants:
Depuy – ASR XL Acetabular System, ASR Hip Resurfacing System
Stryker – ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems
Zimmer – Holdings’ Durom Cup
Biomet – M2a Metal-on-Metal Hip Devices
Wright Medical – Technology’s Conserve Plus
Smith & Nephew – R3 Acetabular System
What are the Complications
While hip replacement surgery has helped many recover from hip fractures and overcome their arthritis pain, there can be serious risks and complications. Recently, there has been a growing number of patients reporting implant failure and other complications including:
- Blood Clots: after surgery, blood clots can form in the veins of the leg and result in decreased leg movement after your surgery
- Infection: an infection may occur at the incision site and possibly the deeper tissue around your new hip
- Fractures: during the surgery, some parts of your hip joints may fracture. While most of the fractures are tiny and heal on their own, larger fractures will need surgery to fix them.
- Dislocation: the ball of your new joint may become dislodged by certain positions.
- Stiff joints: the tissues around your joint may harden and make it difficult to move your hip
- Change in Leg Length: sometimes, this may be caused by weakened muscles around the hip becoming loose
- Heterotopic Ossification: considered one of the most common of hip replacement complications and occurs in almost 50% of all patients. This happens when the bone forms on the outside of the skeleton. Causing the soft tissues to be calcified. This will typically occur in areas where severe trauma occurred.
When the patient of a hip implant moves their leg, it causes the surfaces of the new ball and cup to rub against each other, which causes friction that causes debris to be produced. An estimated 1 million debris particles are said to be produced with every step a patient takes. The debris of a metal-on-metal hip replacement causes a condition known as metallosis. Metallosis is caused by the metallic debris buildup of the soft tissues inside the body.
Other reported side effects include:
- Nerve injury
- Loosening of the artificial hip joint parts
- Severe pain where implant was placed
What are the major risks involved with hip implants?
Over the past two decades, there has been an increased popularity in hip replacement devices. Most artificial hip joints are made to last for 10-20 years without any loosening. However, patients who undergo a hip replacement surgery and choose an all-metal device, 4 out of 10 of these devices will all fail within 5 years.
Recent Examples of Lawsuits
- March 2013 – A Los Angeles, California jury awarded Loren Kransky $8.3 million dollars for the pain and suffering a DePuy ASR hip replacement caused him. This was the first United States trial, which involved a DePuy metal system allegation.
- August 2012 – Johnson & Johnson settles 3 DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits for each about $200,000 settlement per case
Which hip implant systems have recalls?
It is possible for the FDA to order the manufacture of a product to recall their device. The FDA is able to get a court order forcing the company to take the device off the marker if they fail to cooperate and recall their device.
The FDA announced in September 2001 that Biomet and 7 other United States medical device companies would be recalling their implants due to component problems of the zirconia ceramic femoral head. This ball portion of hip implants was found to be prone to fractures and often needing surgical replacements.
There have been many other systems recalled by the FDA including:
Stryker: Trident Acetabular PSL Cup, Trident Hemispherical Cup (2008), Rejuvenate Modular hip implant, andABG II hip implant
Biomet: Zirconia ceramic femoral heads (2001), Tibial Bearing Arcom UHMWPE (2007), Modular Microplasty Cup Inserter (2008), and M2A Magnum, Mallory-Head
Depuy: ASR XL Acetabular, ASR Hip Resurfacing System, and Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System
Smith & Nephew: R3 Acetabular System, Oxinium Pro-Fix II and the Oxinium Genesis II (2003)
Wright Medical: Profemur Z Hip Replacement
Exactech: Opteon, R3 Acetabular System metal lining
Zimmer Holdings: Mayo Hip, Durom Acetabular Component (Durom Cup) (2008), Natural-Knee II Durasul Patella – Class II (2012)
If you are suffering from complications due to a defective hip implant, you should turn to a lawyer today to get the legal help you need. We will do everything to make sure you are fully compensated for the pain and suffering a hip device may have caused you.