New research has shown a connection between the type of corrosion with the Stryker Orthopedics Rejuvenate Modular Hip System and local soft tissue destruction.
Previously, lawyers were only accepting metal-on-metal claims regarding defective hip implants and some Stryker Rejuvenate patients did not have legal recourse because of this. Because of the potential link with components in the Stryker Orthopedics Rejuvenate Modular Hip System device, the Stryker Rejuvenate claims are now being investigated, and litigation is underway.
The report published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery on May 15, 2013, studied 12 hips in 11 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty with a modular femoral stem design by Stryker Rejuvenate. This design consists of a titanium-molybdenum-zirconium-iron alloy body paired with a modular cobalt-chromium alloy neck. All patients showed local tissue destruction with visible corrosion at the femoral neck-body junction and increased levels of chromium, titanium, and cobalt in their blood, indicating metallosis. Metallosis is an adverse tissue reaction to heavy metals in the body, causing pain, failure of the hip joint, limited mobility, DNA changes and chromosomal aberrations, pseudotumors and dissolution of the bone.
Patients implanted with the recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems should also be evaluated for local tissue reactions, such as necrosis surrounding tissue, and have their blood tested to ensure their hips are functioning properly in order to prevent metallosis, even if they do not experience any side effects. Typically, hip implants are expected to last 15 to 20 years, but the Stryker Rejuvenate hips are failing in less than five years.
What Makes the Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Implant Different?
In the news regarding lawsuits, the Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant is different from other hip replacement devices because it is not a metal-on-metal device. Instead, it uses a ceramic component which was meant as an alternative to the metal-on-metal devices and was marketed to younger patients as a modular hip replacement, with custom-made components to fit patients better.
Some patients have reported developing metallosis after the implantation. Although this was initially believed to be impossible because the Stryker Rejuvenate does not have a metal-on-metal ball and socket design, the device has a metal neck piece that can rub against a metal stem, causing metal debris to come loose. Stryker responded to concerns about the Rejuvenate failure rate by alleging patients did not undergo rehabilitation following surgery or by blaming doctors’ implantation techniques.
Stryker Hip Replacement Recall
Stryker’s first recall occurred in 2007 when the company recalled the Trident metal hip. Five years later, in July 2012, Stryker voluntarily recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems from the market, due to reports of fretting and corrosion. On May 28, 2012, Health Canada announced that Rejuvenate was being recalled so the instructions for use could be updated. The recall was based on a reported rate of less than one percent for revisions associated with the Rejuvenate and affected only Rejuvenate devices sold in Canada.
Since the recall in 2012, an increasing number of Stryker hip replacement lawsuits continue to be filed nationwide. As of May 2013, more than 160 lawsuits have been filed in a consolidated litigation currently underway in New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court. 81 claims have been filed in the New Jersey litigation early in 2013.
Defective Product Claims
The defective product claims usually fall into three categories:
- defective manufacture
- defective design
- failure to provide proper instructions or warnings about the adequate use of the product
There are several entities that can be held responsible in a product liability case including all individuals and companies in the chain of distribution. Most often, the defendants in product liability lawsuits are:
- the manufacturer of the product and any components
- the designer of the product
- the company who assembled the product
- the first distributor of the product
- the company who labeled the product
- the reseller of the product
What Damages Can I Recover?
The monetary compensation can cover both economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- pain and suffering
- emotional anguish
- present and future medical costs
- lost wages
- lost earning capacity
- property damage
Product Liability Law in California
A 2-year deadline prescribed by California Code of Civil Procedure applies to personal injury actions in product liability. The components of a California strict liability action include:
- the defective product was the cause of plaintiff’s injuries or damages
- the product was in a defective state when it left the defendant’s possession
- the product was used in intended manner
The O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm Can Help You Build a Case
At the Elk Grove-based O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm, we represent individuals and families in the greater Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area who have been injured by defective products.
We believe that manufacturing companies have a responsibility to customers and they should be held accountable when something goes wrong.
It is our duty to hold these companies accountable and to help injured persons and their families recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. Contact John M. O’Brien & Grant Zehnder today at 800.722.4176 for more information and advice regarding product liability lawsuits in the state of California, Sacramento & Elk Grove areas.