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Hip Replacement Device: Complications & Lawsuits

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled or received complaints about several artificial hip implants. The two most common brands are Stryker Orthopedics and DePuy, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

Many patients have already filed lawsuits against these companies for damages resulting from defective hip implants.

Which artificial hips are the subject of injury claims?

The hip implants that are subject of many lawsuits are the metal-on-metal (MoM) models where metal composes both the ball and socket parts of the joint. When the components move, they can cause unintended grinding and premature failure. Lawsuits claim manufacturers deceptively marketed these all-metal joints as longer-lasting and with fewer complications than competitor models.

The following is a list of artificial hip manufacturers and the models under recall or which are the subject of legal action.

Stryker Orthopedics Smith & Nephew
Rejuvenate* Emperion Hip System
ABG II* Birmingham Hip
Accolade TMZF Modular SMF Hip System*
Citation TMZF Modular Redapt Revision Femoral Hip System*
Meridian TMZF R3 Acetabular*
LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral head
DePuy Orthopedics, Inc. Wright Medical Technology
ASR XL Acetabular Hip System* Conserve Plus*
ASR Hip Resurfacing System* Profemur Z Hip Stem*
Omni Biomet
Apex K2 M2a metal-on-metal hip devices
Durom Acetabular Component*

*FDA recalled models

This list is only a sample of the MoM hip implants that are or were in use when these problems came to light. If you have a different brand of MoM implant, you might still be eligible for compensation if you suffered serious complications and damages.

What complications might arise from hip implants?

Many patients who receive artificial hip replacement implants later require revision surgery. These surgical revisions either repair damage to the joint area or remove the artificial joint entirely and replace it with a new model.

The revision surgeries are often in response to diagnoses by orthopedic specialists of adverse local tissue reactions or adverse reactions to medical debris from the hip implants. The symptoms of these conditions may include:

  • Loosening of implant
  • Localized pain, especially in the groin, hip, or leg
  • Swelling at or near the hip joint
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pronounced limp

The following are other complications of hip implants that patients have suffered and which may be the subject of lawsuits against manufacturers:

Metal Hip Implants and Severe Pain

The chief complaint among patients with defective hip replacements is severe pain, both before and after the surgical revision. Hip replacement surgery on its own is a painful process, and the MoM implants may cause resonating pain well after the operation.

Many of the legal complaints against MoM implants cite damages for unnecessary pain and suffering through multiple surgeries to correct loosened or degraded implants or replace the implant completely due to adverse reactions.

Metal Hip Implants and Systemic Effects

A small number of adverse reactions to MoM hip implants include systemic effects on multiple body systems. The FDA suggests that physicians conduct extra assessments for patients who show excessive wear on the metal replacements or experience a localized adverse reaction to metal debris.

According to the FDA, symptoms of systemic effects may include complications of the following body systems:

  • Cardiovascular (chest pain, shortness of breath)
  • Neurological (numbness, weakness, changes in vision or hearing)
  • Renal (changes in urination)
  • Thyroid (fatigue, weight gain)

The FDA relates the cause of these systemic complications to metal ions that accumulate as the metal joints rub and degrade over time. The risk of metal ions entering the body is why the FDA warns against using MoM implants in patients with metal sensitivity or renal complications.

Metal Hip Implants and Metallosis

Metallosis is a rare condition caused by metallic debris from MoM implants building up in the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint. The affected tissue appears gray, a potential indication that it is oxygen-starved and damaged.

In patients with metal sensitivity, metallosis can cause acute symptoms such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Implant failure or loosening
  • Deterioration or death of tissue and bone around joint
  • Cyst formation

Patients with severe metal sensitivity may also develop metal poisoning, which can be fatal.

Current Legal Status of Metal Hip Implant Lawsuits

The manufacturers of several brands of MoM implants have settled lawsuits from injured patients.

  • 2013 – Johnson & Johnson (DePuy) settled 7,500 claims against the ASR implant at a cost of $2.5 billion.
  • 2014 – Stryker settled thousands of claims related to faulty hip implants for a total of $1.43 billion.
  • 2015 – Five patients received a total of $502 million from DePuy for problems with the Pinnacle Ultramet implant.
  • 2016 – Six patients alleged that Johnson & Johnson covered up problems with its hip implants. The company had to pay more than $1 billion to the patients.

Lawsuits for defective hip replacements seek a wide range of damages, from pain and suffering to the cost of corrective surgeries. Common complaints that may serve as the basis of a manufacturer’s liability include:

  • Failure to warn of risks
  • Inadequate testing
  • Defective product design
  • Manufacturers knew of risks
  • Deceptive marketing
  • False claims of durability and superiority to competitor devices

Did you suffer complications from an artificial hip?

While any implant surgery has its risks, the cases illustrated above are beyond the scope of normal complications. Even though the manufacturers have discontinued or recalled many of these implant models, the symptoms may take years to manifest in patients who already have these implants.

If you experienced any of the complications listed on this page and have or had a metal-on-metal hip implant, you might be eligible to file a claim for damages. For more information on your rights to file a lawsuit, call 1-800-DRUG-411 to find a lawyer who can help.

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