The Stryker Corporation is facing parallel litigations in Boston and New Jersey defending its LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Head (Cobalt Chromium V40) with allegations that the metal-on-metal ball and joint hip implant has a design defect causing it to fail prematurely. The giant medical device manufacturer sells its products worldwide in over 100 countries.
The alleged design defect is the junction between the femoral head and the femoral stem. The stems are normally titanium alloys and the heads are cobalt chromium and that is crux of the problem. Some hip implants of this type use a ceramic head. The current litigation revolves around the cobalt chromium heads combined with the titanium stems. It is alleged that the mixed metal can “fret” and corrode over time with everyday repetitive motion of the hip.
Size of Femoral Heads
Failures appear to be more common among implants with larger femoral heads. Medical documentation shows that the majority of these kinds of failures have been in individuals who had the larger head which is 36 millimeters in size. Even though there are some cases with a small head, those with larger heads are more likely to be at risk.
The national law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience in medical device litigation, including metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer any questions for those individuals seeking legal information.
Signs of Complications
The first sign of a problem may be pain in the hip area. If the corrosion is sufficiently extensive, the hip implant may crack. Corroded Stryker V40 implants almost always mean elevated cobalt levels. MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) can detect evidence of tissue or bone damage with pseudo tumors and fluid.
The worst complication that some people get is disassociation, where the femoral head cracks off due to the trunnion (pivot point) being so corroded it simply falls out of the stem. A full revision surgery would then be necessary to remove the disconnected dissociated head and the femoral stem.
In 2011, Stryker voluntarily issued a recall of about 40,000 Cobalt Chromium V40 implants. The company has sold hundreds of thousands of these kinds of hip implants. There has been some disagreement with the scope of the recall, since the number of these devices being implanted is so extensive.
Brain Dysfunction and Cobalt Poisoning?
There have been a number of studies over the last several years that associate elevated levels of cobalt from metal-on-metal hip implants with brain dysfunction. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Britain, is encouraging further study after numerous scientific investigations raised the issue.
DePuy Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant
In a recent case, a hip replacement recipient had a DePuy metal-on-metal-device that had been recalled, but had served him well for a number of years. Then, his cobalt levels “skyrocketed,” according to his wife. There had been some cognitive issues that appeared to indicate cobalt poisoning. He had had the procedure done in 2004 in India where some of his sports friends, including a medical doctor, had had their hip implants done. They were reportedly up and walking one day after surgery. The city of Hyderabad, has seen a 166 percent increase in medical tourism since 2014 and is home to western-trained orthopedic surgeons specializing in hip and knee replacements.
DePuy had marketed its ASR hip resurfacing system for people who were athletic and younger than typical hip replacement recipients. When the device was recalled, the man after having an examination by his doctor, had an MRI when he began having trouble getting in and out of his car. An orthopedist found no problem, but the man’s insurance company required him to get regular blood tests since the hip implant device had been recalled seven years earlier.
All along his cobalt levels were within normal range until April 2017. He had a low-grade fever and seemed very confused and had symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
As of June 2017, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom requires 8,600 people who still have the DePuy hip implant to have x-rays and blood tests yearly.
After doing some research, the wife came across Dr. Tower in Alaska who spoke about his own hip replacement failure. The doctor’s cobalt concentration in his blood was found to be 120 times that which is thought to be safe for cobalt-exposed workers and his cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cobalt level became the third highest reported, Dr. Tower said on his website.
What is most alarming is that people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when a PET (positron emission tomography) Scan reveals that they have extremely high levels of cobalt caused by metal-on-metal hip implants. DePuy was ordered to pay over $1 billion in damages to hip replacement patients who were injured by their devices after nearly 100,000 of its devices had been recalled.
Have You Been Injured by a Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement?
If you or someone you know has sustained injury involving a metal-on-metal hip replacement, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman personal injury law firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).