Medical device maker Stryker and other leading manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants have received thousands of complaints from both doctors and patients that their devices, including the Stryker LFIT, are defective and prone to high rates of failure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 300,000 Americans undergo total hip replacement every year. The surgery alleviates pain and helps the individual regain lost mobility, but many patients who receive metal-on-metal hip devices experience serious complications and must undergo painful revision surgery to replace the failed device. Many of these patients have turned to lawsuits to seek compensation for their injuries.
Concerns about Stryker LFIT Hip Prompt Alert to Surgeons
In August 2016, Stryker sent a safety alert to orthopedic surgeons to warn that the Stryker LFIT metal hip implant components could cause serious injuries. Stryker’s notification explained the dangers associated with particular sizes of the Stryker LFIT metal hip implant manufactured before 2011.
Government health regulatory agencies in both Canada and Australia have issued major safety announcements to doctors and patients about the high rate of failure among Stryker LFIT metal hip implant. The Canadian government went as far as to issue an official recall of these components, citing “higher than expected complaints of . . . failure.”
Stryker LFIT Metal Hip Implant Complications
Stryker has marketed hip replacement devices like the Stryker LFIT metal hip with the promise that the metal components offer increased durability and shorter recovery times compared to hip devices made from ceramic or plastic materials. Durability is an important consideration in choosing a hip replacement device so patients can avoid repeat surgeries.
An increasing number of people are choosing to have a hip replacement when they are still in their forties or fifties. Many of these people have found their daily or leisure activities limited by hip pain and reduced mobility and they are turning to surgery for a solution. For some of these adults, hip replacement lets them continue to participate in sports and athletics. For others, mobility may be crucial to their ability to continue working.
If a hip device lasts about 15 years, a patient who gets a first hip implant in his or her 40s or 50s is likely to undergo repeat replacement two or even three more times. Unfortunately, once a defective hip like the Stryker LFIT is implanted, the metal components rubbing against each other during movement can release minute metal debris in the patient’s bloodstream and the tissue surrounding the joint. Patients can experience painful and dangerous complications, including:
- joint pain
- difficulty walking
- loosening of the joint
- tissue and bone death (bone dissolution)
- fluid in the joint
- metallosis (metal poisoning)
The patient eventually needs revision surgery to remove and replace the failed implant. Revision surgery is often more difficult for the patient because of bone loss and damage to the joint. Recovery time is longer and the results of revision surgery are often less successful than the original surgery because the hip is in worse condition.
Legal Troubles for Stryker
In many of the lawsuits over injuries from defective metal-on-metal hips, plaintiffs allege that the hip devices should have been subjected to rigorous testing before they were allowed on the market. Under current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) device clearance procedures, manufacturers were able to bring many metal-on-metal hips to market under a streamlined approval process. If the manufacturer can claim the device is substantially equivalent to a device already on the market, the company can avoid preapproval clinical testing requirements. Critics of the 510(k) process say all devices should undergo testing because even seemingly minor differences in materials and design can have a major effect on a device’s safety and effectiveness.
This is not the first instance of legal difficulties over a Stryker metal hip. In 2012, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II model hip implants were recalled. Patients who received those devices have reported debilitating pain, crippling tissue and muscle damage, and premature failure of their hip replacement. Stryker Corporation has paid out more than $1 billion in settlement payments to patients harmed by Rejuvenate or ABG II devices.
Help for Victims of Failed Stryker Hip Implants
If you or someone you know has experienced complications from a Stryker LFIT metal hip implant or has needed hip revision surgery, the experienced hip-injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are available to help determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the firm today for a free, no obligation evaluation. Fill out the online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).