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Metal Hip Replacement Lawsuits

In recent years, metal-on-metal hip implants have been increasingly marketed as safer and more durable than traditional hip implants, but thousands of individuals have suffered injuries linked to defective hip implants. Manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants face lawsuits alleging their implants were defectively designed and had a high failure rate. Some manufacturers have settled their lawsuits for millions of dollars, while other lawsuits are still pending.

Meanwhile, the FDA has issued warnings about some hip implants, and manufacturers have gone as far as to recall some metal-on-metal devices. Among 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.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Hip implants are big business for device manufacturers. According to the Safe Patient Project, in 2011, almost 500,000 Americans underwent hip replacements. But those hip replacement surgeries could come with risks for patients. The Safe Patient Project reports that from November 1, 2002 to July 23, 2013, hip implant manufacturers issued a total of 578 recalls. Of those, 150 were issued by DePuy and 178 were issued by Stryker.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have both a ball and socket component that are made of metal. Because of the use of metal-on-metal components, which were thought to be more durable, metal hip implants were marketed as having a lifespan up to 20 years, double that of ceramic or plastic hip implants. They were also designed to carry a decreased risk of dislocation and a decreased risk of device fracture. Younger patients, especially those who are active, increasingly chose the metal devices so they wouldn’t have to undergo repeated hip surgeries to replace devices. Unfortunately, studies have shown that some devices have failure rates as early as five years after implantation, forcing patients to have painful revision surgery.

Complications associated with metal-on-metal hip replacement devices:

  • Spontaneous dislocation
  • Joint Failure
  • Hip bone fracture
  • Metallosis

The FDA has issued a warning about metal-on-metal hip implants, noting that metal can be released from any part of the implant where two implant components connect. These tiny metallic particles can enter the patient’s blood stream and cause a condition known as metallosis. Overtime, metallosis can cause soft tissue damage, which can in turn cause pain, loosening of the implant, and device failure. Patients may also suffer permanent harm, including kidney or liver damage.

DePuy Hip Implants

Among the companies that has faced complaints about its hip implants is DePuy Orthopaedics, which makes the ASR Acetabular System, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, and the Pinnacle Hip Replacement System. In November 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics, owned by Johnson & Johnson, announced it was settling around 8,000 lawsuits linked to the ASR hip replacement. At the time, the settlement was worth around $2.5 billion.

The Safe Patient Project reports that from 2002 to 2013, DePuy issued 150 recalls of its hip implant products. Among the reasons for the recall were design flaws, early failure, migration issues, and labeling problems.

Some DePuy hip implants have been linked to a higher than average early failure rate, requiring revision surgery for patients.

Stryker Hip Implants

Similar to DePuy, Stryker faces lawsuits linked to its hip replacement systems, the Rejuvenate and the ABG II hip system. Stryker’s hip implants have been linked to a high failure rate and metallosis.

According to the Safe Patient Project, from 2002 to 2013, Stryker issued 178 recalls of its hip implant devices, the most of any manufacturer in the period. Among the reasons given for the recalls were fracturing, cracking, manufacturing issues, and labeling issues.

In 2014, Stryker announced a settlement of some lawsuits concerning the Rejuvenate and the ABG II hip replacement system. That settlement was valued at around $1 billion.

Traditional Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Systems

In traditional metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, the implant consists of a metal ball, a metal femoral stem in the thighbone, and a metal cup in the hip bone. The ball sits in the metal cup and is attached to one end of the stem.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Side Effects

Patients who have had a metal-on-metal hip replacement and notice any of the following side effects should seek medical attention to determine their options.

  • Limited mobility in the hip joint
  • Clicking or crunching in the hip
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Loosening in the hip
  • Groin pain

Symptoms of metallosis:

  • General hypersensitivity reaction
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Neurological changes (such as visual impairments)
  • Depression or cognitive impairment
  • Fatigue
  • Renal function impairment
  • Thyroid dysfunction

Metal-on-Metal Revision Surgery

Patients who have had a metal-on-metal hip implant fail may have to undergo revision surgery to have the faulty device removed. Revision surgery is typically more complex than the initial surgery and may require a longer recovery time, as well as exposing patients to the risks associated with surgery.

Contact an Experienced Metal Hip Replacement Attorney

Our law firm has extensive experience representing clients across the United States who have suffered significant injuries as a result of defective medical devices, including metal-on-metal hip implants. If you have been harmed by a metal hip implant, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the device. Contact Cutter Law for a free case evaluation. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss your legal options. Call us at (855) 475-4336, or fill out a contact form.