When a person starts to experience pain in their hip from a hip injury or years of wear and tear, it is common for their doctor to recommend hip replacement surgery. During surgery, all or most of the hip joint is removed. It is replaced with a partial or full artificial joint.
When the surgery is successful, this artificial, ball and socket joint provides full mobility to patients and allows them to enjoy most activities pain-free. But some patients are left with ongoing hip problems due to a poorly made hip implant. In response, some victims of early hip implant device failure have filed lawsuits against several hip replacement manufacturers.
If you have had hip replacement surgery and have pain, discomfort, revision surgeries, and other damages, you could qualify for financial relief in a hip replacement lawsuit.
What Makes Hip Replacements Fail?
Hip replacement medical device manufacturers claim their devices are carefully regulated and tested for use in hip replacement surgeries. But many cases have proven that hip replacement joints do not always work as intended.
Most early hip replacement implant failures are due to metal debris being present. The metal debris usually is from one of two things:
- Metal-on-metal grinding from the ball and socket implant.
- Corrosion between the ball and the stem of the implant.
If leeching from the metal debris happens, it puts you at a higher risk of dangerous complications, such as metallosis. This is a condition where the damage to the artificial joint causes pain, the buildup of fluid and even loosening of the implant. It can cause metal toxicity in the blood, and physicians will often found higher levels of chromium and cobalt in blood tests. The leaching can put you at risk of organ damage.
Hip replacements also may fail when the joint breaks loose from the bone. Or, the ball can dislocate from the socket, or device components wear out or break from poor quality materials or manufacturing flaws. (FDA.gov)
Whatever the cause of the failure, the patient usually will need at least one revision surgery and more medical costs.
Symptoms of Hip Replacement Failure
- In most cases, the biggest sign of a failed hip implant is significant pain. This is especially the case if the hip implant is loosening from the bone, or there is an infection around the device. Related symptoms of failure include joint stiffness or a limp.
- If the problem is instability or dislocation, the hip joint may feel normal until even a small twist causes it to pop out of place. This causes severe pain and an inability to put any weight on the joint.
- A related symptom of hip replacement device problems is an infection. Revision hip replacement surgery often involves a major infection around the joint that causes pain and discomfort.
The above symptoms need to be reviewed by the surgeon to determine if the hip joint has something wrong with it, or if it is functioning as intended. There are several tests available that can be ordered to determine what the problem is. (ORI.org)
Why Patients File Hip Replacement Lawsuits
Hip replacement implants have been used for more than 40 years to treat people with failing hip joints. So why are more people filing hip replacement lawsuits? It seems to be a combination of poor regulatory oversight, hasty manufacturing, and poorer quality in favor of greater corporate profits.
Earlier hip replacement designs that were used for years did not have the same problems we see in newer devices. This suggests recent changes to the medical device industry are causing a higher rate of device failure.
Hip replacement lawsuits allege that device failures are caused by poor designs, inadequate testing, and poor quality control. It appears that medical device manufacturers are rushing their designs into production to boost sales and profits. Should financial gain be more important than patient safety? No.
Thousands of hip replacement lawsuits have been settled in court, and a few have gone to trial.
Hip Replacement Lawsuits in Progress
Are you unsure if you should file a personal injury lawsuit for your hip replacement failure? It is helpful to know about lawsuits that are in process today. Right now, there are several hip replacement lawsuits that are going through the court process. They are detailed below.
The medical device manufacturer could be liable for your hip replacement joint failure. According to product liability law, these medical device manufacturers can be ordered to pay patients for injuries that are caused by defective devices.
Such lawsuits generally require and patient (through their attorney) to prove the implant had a defect in design, or the manufacturer did not provide sufficient warnings about device dangers.
Ongoing lawsuits involve these hip replacement products:
DePuy ASR and Pinnacle Systems
Patients have been filing lawsuits against DePuy Orthopedics (a division of J&J) because of device failures. There are more than 7,000 of these lawsuits pending in federal courts. Litigants want to be compensated for the cost of revision surgery.
These failures allegedly involve metal debris from improper metal-on-metal articulation in the ASR and Pinnacle hip implant products. Two lawsuits allege the firm knew that ASR was defective in design, but DePuy denies it.
Stryker LFIT V30 and Tritanium Systems
The LFIT product has been the subject of lawsuits because eight sizes of femoral heads may break off from the device stem. Stryker issued an alert for this problem in 2018, but patients undergoing revision surgeries are still filing lawsuits. There are 1,500 lawsuits related to the Stryker implants.
The Stryker Tritanium implant was found by an NYU Hospital clinical study to have a higher number of aseptic cup loosenings and failures. This problem leads to complex revision surgeries. (Arthoplastytoday.org)
In this study, researchers looked at aseptic loosening problems where no infection was present. They wanted to see if the failure was caused by a design flaw. The study showed that the performance rate for hip implants is usually 85% after 15 years. But investigators in this study found Tritanium implants could come loose in three or four years.
Lawsuits against Encore also are related to metal-on-metal articulation defects. Patients who have had these devices implanted state that grinding and corrosion allowed dangerous metals to leach into their bloodstream, causing metallosis. This defect allegedly could have been caught if the device had been more carefully tested.
Biomet MsZ Magnum and M2a38 Systems
Hundreds of lawsuits filed in 2014 were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) and were settled for $56 million. But more than 300 cases were filed as of 2018. Current lawsuits allege that the metal-on-metal articulation of these Biomet joints causes serious damage and requires expensive resurfacing surgery.
Smith & Nephew BHR, BHMH, and RC Acetabular System Products
As of 2018, this British medical device manufacturer was dealing with 700 hip replacement lawsuits. These lawsuits involve several medical devices. Most of the hip replacement implants were recalled or discontinued, but lawsuits involving failure and injury are ongoing.
Wright Medical ConSERVE and Profemur Systems
These medical devices have been at the center of several hip replacement lawsuits. Issues include metal-on-metal articulation and structural integrity defects. The Conserve lawsuits focus on debris created from metal-on-metal grinding. Profemur lawsuits relate to the fracturing of the device’s titanium necks. A related MDL was finalized in June 2018, but final payouts are still being processed by the company.
Zimmer Durom Cup System
Medical device Zimmer is still dealing with an MDL trial involving thousands of failure and injury lawsuits. Plaintiffs are stuck with pain, metal toxicity, and expensive revision surgeries.
What Is The Difference Between Multidistrict Litigation and Class-Action Lawsuits?
There are two legal remedies used for issues such as hip replacement lawsuits: MDLs and class-action lawsuits. Both are used in cases with hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs, but there are major differences.
A class action is a single case with many plaintiffs, while an MDL is a group of many lawsuits that are overseen by one court and judge. Your hip replacement lawsuit attorney can work with you to decide if joining an MDL or class-action lawsuit is the best remedy for your individual case.
Did You Have a Hip Replacement Failure? Contact Us Today
If you had a hip replacement and the joint failed, you may have suffered a serious side effect such as metallosis or other joint failures. You may have required costly, complicated joint revision surgery.
In the above cases, you have a right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering and financial losses. All hip replacement surgery lawsuits have time limits, so it is recommended to contact a hip replacement attorney today. Please call us for a complimentary case review.
- Concerns About Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/metal-metal-hip-implants/concerns-about-metal-metal-hip-implants
- Early Aseptic Loosening of the Tritanium Primary Acetabular Component with Screw Fixation. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.arthroplastytoday.org/article/S2352-3441(17)30173-5/abstract
- How to Recognize a Failing Hip Replacement. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ori.org.au/hipjoint/failing.html