Lawsuits are being filed in the Stryker hip replacement litigation. As we have previously written the Stryker hip replacement system was recalled a few months back. These are the first lawsuits filed against Howmedica Osteonics Corp., the manufacturer. Unlike in other hip implant litigation, the problems with the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II involve the stem of the products, rather than the ball and socket joint. That difference makes the injuries more significant, the fix more difficult and the damages more substantial.
The first cases were filed in New Jersey state court. It’s likely that the cases will be consolidated in Bergen County, N.J. The Stryker products are “dual modular” hip replacement systems, meaning there are two places where the pieces fit into each other: one between the stem and neck and the second between the neck and ball. The device was marketed as giving more flexibility to orthopedic surgeons. It received FDA clearance in June 2008. Approximately 30,000 devices have been implanted worldwide, with 20,000 going to U.S. patients.
The stem portion of the device is made of a titanium alloy referred to as TMZF (titanium molybdenum, zinc and iron) and the neck is made of a cobalt-chromium alloy. While this is the first titanium product, it’s not the first cobalt-chromium alloy. The manufacturer uses specific, patented variations of these metals, but thus far the company won’t tell lawyers handling these cases the actual makeup of the metals. By July 2012, Howmedica had voluntarily recalled the Stryker Modular and Rejuvenate ABG II because of the “potential for fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular-neck junction, which may result in adverse local tissue reactions manifesting with pain and/or swelling,” according to the company’s website. Patients are just now starting to get recall notices.
The combination of metals in the product causes corrosion of the portion that is inserted into the femur. Using the dissimilar metals between the neck and the stem causes problems. The clash between the metals causes corrosion, fretting and galvanization, and breaks down. Because the problems involve the stem portion that goes into the femur, corrective surgery is more complex than correcting hip devices that failed at the ball-and-cup joint, such as the Depuy ASR and the Zimmer Durom. If you need more information on this litigation contact Navan Ward, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Navan.Ward@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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