When pain and discomfort arise due to a hip injury or years of wear-and-tear damage, a person’s doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. During this procedure, part or all of the damaged hip joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant.
Even when the procedure is successful and there are no surgical complications, some patients find themselves dealing with early hip replacement problems due to poorly made implants. In response to this epidemic of early hip implant device failures in the last few years, thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against the majority of major hip implant manufacturers.
The majority of early hip implant device failures are caused by the presence of harmful metal debris. This is typically created by one of two things: metal-on-metal grinding between the ball and socket, or corrosion between the ball and the stem that connects it to the rest of the device.
Failure may also occur when the joint detaches from the bone, the ball dislocates from the socket, or the components wear or break unexpectedly due to poor materials or manufacturing errors. Whatever the cause, the patient usually faces one or more complicated revision surgeries and further medical expenses.
Hip replacement devices have been used for decades, so why are there so many hip replacement suits against manufacturers today? The answer appears to be a combination of poor oversight, rushed manufacturing, and declining quality in favor of greater profits. Earlier device designs did not show the same problems, suggesting that recent industry changes have led to implants that aren’t as safe or reliable as they once were.
Lawsuits have alleged problems like poor design and lack of appropriate testing. Manufacturers also appear to have rushed new designs through the production process so that they could increase sales and increase profits, putting financial gain ahead of people’s safety.
Recent research (and patient experience) has revealed a variety of serious problems related to faulty hip devices. In 2019, the FDA published an eye-opening report on biological responses to metal implants, detailing serious potential harm.¹ The following are just a few examples.
Malfunctioning joints commonly cause pain and discomfort. The joint may also be weak or unstable, causing movement difficulties and leaving the patient vulnerable to sudden failure and further injury.
If there is corrosion of metal parts, debris in surrounding tissues can cause pain, fluid build-up, and implant loosening. If metals leach into the blood, the patient can develop a toxicity called metallosis. Elevated levels of metals like chromium and cobalt are commonly seen in blood-testing results.¹
Debris and toxic metal exposure can affect organ function, leading to side effects like²:
The following are a few examples of lawsuits that have been filed against various manufacturers, all involving metal-on-metal devices.
Cases have alleged that the metal-on-metal articulation of certain Biomet artificial hip joint devices has caused significant damage that requires costly revisions and/or resurfacing surgery. Our firm has played an active part in Biomet hip implant litigation.
In 2012, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of a patient whose defective Biomet M2a-Magnum Hip System caused early pain and discomfort. Just two years after surgery, a bone scan showed cup loosening and the patient underwent painful revision surgery.
Despite not being recalled, the implant’s manufacturer was clearly aware of issues. Adverse Event Reports submitted to the FDA outlined metallosis and debris issues as early as 2004. Regardless, Biomet continued to market it as a safe and durable product.
Hundreds of previous Biomet hip implant lawsuits were combined into in an MDL and settled in 2014. Since then, hundreds more lawsuits have been filed.
Lawsuits against implant manufacturer Encore in recent years have also stemmed from metal-on-metal articulation problems. Patients who have received Encore hip implant devices allege problems related to metal-on-metal grinding, corrosion, and metallosis. Records suggest that Encore did not conduct a thorough enough study of its metal devices. As a result, they failed to warn patients of possible harm, putting the health and safety of implant recipients at risk.
As of 2020, Encore is now known as DJO Surgical. Despite the name change, lawsuits can still be filed against them for harm caused by their hip devices. Our firm continues to take on such cases, and we encourage anyone who may have a case to contact us right away.
Wright Medical hip implant cases have alleged issues with metal-on-metal articulation and structural integrity in their Conserve and Profemur devices. The Conserve cases specifically involve the creation of debris from metal-on-metal grinding, while the Profemur cases are related to the fracturing of the implant’s titanium necks.
Saunders & Walker P.A. has been involved in this litigation as well. A client who received a Wright Profemur Z device in 2005 suffered early implant failure and underwent revision surgery in 2011. When the modular neck fractured, the entire system failed, leaving the victim in pain on the floor.
Many Wright implant cases have already been settled and a major MDL was closed in June 2018. As victims continue to come forward about early implant failure, more lawsuits are likely to be filed.
Nothing! At Saunders & Walker P.A., we work on a contingency basis, which means that we’re free to hire and you won’t have to pay us afterward if we don’t recover damages in your case. Our consultations are also free, so you won’t have to pay a dime out of pocket.
Previous cases against joint implant device manufacturers have already resulted in settlements worth billions of dollars in damages for those harmed.
Multi-district litigations (MDLs) and class-action lawsuits are the most common types of litigation in these cases. The primary difference between the two types of action is that a class-action suit is one case with a list of several plaintiffs, while a multi-district litigation is a group of several lawsuits whose proceedings are overseen by a single court and judge.
If your hip joint implant has failed, caused issues like metallosis, and/or required expensive, complex revision surgery, you have an inherent right to seek compensation for your suffering and financial losses. Because these hip implant failure lawsuits do have time limits, however, it’s important to get help from the hip replacement lawyers at Saunders & Walker right away, while you are still allowed to file.
As a trusted law firm with experience helping faulty implant victims nationwide, we have the skills and expertise necessary to evaluate your case (at no cost to you) and guide you through the lawsuit process. We also strive to make our services affordable to all through our contingency policy and reasonable percentage fee.
To discuss whether you may have a case, call our office today at 1-800-748-7115.
See the following FAQs for more detailed information about filing a suit.
The statute of limitations depends on the details and applicable laws in your case. Contact a lawyer right away to determine how long you have and take action before it’s too late.
Yes. Initial FDA approval does not eliminate the manufacturer’s responsibility to protect patients from risks. No recall is required to file a suit; in fact, failure to issue a recall is often part of the problem.
Orthopedic surgeons are not responsible for the damage done by faulty medical devices. In fact, your surgeon may even help your case. Doctors can only trust those who say that a product is safe for use in patients. When that product fails, the fault lies with the manufacturers.
Absolutely. When you’re up against a major corporation, you need the right knowledge and experience on your side. We work nationwide so that you can get the best representation, not just the closest.