Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers

Oklahoma Metal-on-Metal Medical Device Injury Lawyers

The Hasbrook & Hasbrook law firm is investigating the possible claims of people in Oklahoma who have experienced serious adverse effects after receiving a metal-on-metal hip replacement device.

If you have had hip replacement surgery and are experiencing severe pain, inflammation, loss of mobility, or difficulty walking or rising, and if you have undergone surgery to remove or correct the hip replacement device or such surgery is being considered, contact our office for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

Hip replacement devices and their manufacturers which have been the subject of lawsuits and prospective legal action in state and federal courts across the country include:

  • DePuy Orthopaedics’ ASR XL Acetabular Hip System; ASR Hip Resurfacing System; Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System
  • Stryker’s Rejuvenate; ABG II hip replacement devices
  • Wright Medical Technology’s Conserve Plus, Profemur Z
  • Zimmer’s Metasul Durom Cup
  • Biomet’s M2A Magnum
  • Smith & Nephew’s R3 Acetabular System

Hip Replacements are Very Common

The hip joint consists of a ball (femoral head) and socket (where the femoral head attaches to the pelvis). Image from Wikipedia.

The hip joint consists of a ball (femoral head) and socket (where the femoral head attaches to the pelvis). Image from Wikipedia.

Hip replacement surgeries have become so common that we have begun to look upon them as a routine part of the aging process. The federal government estimates that 440,000 first-time hip replacements were performed in the U.S. in 2012.

Most (two-thirds) of hip replacements are due to osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis). After suffering severe hip pain and limited mobility, a hip replacement can bring a new lease on life.

Total hip replacement (THR) involves removing the ball and socket that comprise the hip joint and replacing them with an artificial head (ball), usually attached to a stem that inserts into the femur bone, and an artificial cup (socket). These devices may be composed of polymer, ceramic, or metal.

Before the many problems in recent years caused by metal-on-metal hip replacement devices, the biggest concern about hip replacements used to be how long they would last. A successful hip replacement can last 15 to 20 years. If a patient is young enough at the time of surgery or lives long enough after the surgery, the device may eventually wear out and/or begin causing problems. In that event, the patient, who by then is probably quite elderly, would require a second hip replacement or be forced to endure the suffering caused by the worn-out device.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Devices

Therefore, durability is an important feature in a hip replacement device. During the last two decades, an increasing number of THR surgeries have used metal-on-metal devices, i.e., balls and cups made of metal alloy. It was thought that metallic devices would last longer than the plastic and ceramic devices they replaced.

However, it is now well known that these metal-on-metal devices introduce a new set of problems that can be more damaging to a person’s health than the pain and immobility the devices are designed to correct. Correcting those problems often requires removing the devices. Device that were expected to last 15 or more years are being removed as quickly as 18 months after insertion.

Metal-on-metal devices were used in about 20% of THRs in 2007 and 16% in 2010, but thousands of lawsuits since then have resulted in the discontinuation of the use of most metal-on-metal hip prosthetics.

The harms and losses people have experienced due to metal-on-metal hip replacements are in many cases quite severe. As the metal rubs against metal, metallic debris is released in the body. The debris can lead to metallosis (metal poisoning). Although cobalt and chromium are both present in trace amounts in our bodies, excessive amounts can cause great harms.

• The metal residue can trigger a response by the immune system, which can damage surrounding tissue, resulting in necrosis (tissue death).

• The immune response can also cause inflammation around the joint.

• The immune response can also cause osteolysis, which is bones “breaking down” (resorption).

• The metallosis can also be harmful to other parts of the body, as metallic substances spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidneys.

• All of this can cause significant severe pain in the hip, thigh and/or groin, as well as pain and difficulty walking or rising from a seated position.

• As the surrounding bone and tissue are affected, the device can become loosened.

Revision surgery may become necessary. The corrective surgery may be much more complicated than the original surgery, due to the damage that has been caused to the bones and tissue in the hip region.

Injury Lawsuits Against Manufacturers

Due to the harmful health effects being experienced by hip replacement recipients, thousands of lawsuits have been filed in recent years. Two manufacturers, DePuy Orthopaedics and Stryker, are defendants in many of those suits.

DePuy Orthopaedics, based in Warsaw, IN, and owned by Johnson & Johnson, manufactured the ASR XL Acetabular Hip System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The ASR XL came on the market in 2005. The ASR Hip Resurfacing System was never offered on the U.S. market. The company voluntarily recalled both products in August 2010.

More than 11,000 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. claiming damages caused by DePuy’s ASR products. The first suit was filed in 2010. All federal lawsuits against DePuy for its ASR products have been consolidated to the Northern District of Ohio under Judge David A. Katz. The first federal case is set to be heard in January 2014.

The first state DePuy lawsuit to go to trial, on behalf of plaintiff Loren Kransky, resulted in an $8.3 million award California Superior Court in March 2013. The second DePuy lawsuit to go to trial, on behalf of plaintiff Carol Strum in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, ended with a verdict favoring DePuy.

Another DePuy product, the Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System hip replacement device, was introduced in 2000. The product has not been recalled and is still touted on DePuy’s website. However, more than 5,000 people have filed lawsuits claiming many of the same harms as those experienced by people with the ASR products.

Stryker, based in Kalamazoo, MI, manufactured the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacement devices. Both products were introduced in 2009 and both were voluntarily recalled in July 2012.

The Stryker products attempted to improve on previous designs by replacing the standard one-piece stem and neck with a two-piece neck and stem that could be better positioned to fit individual patients. About 20,000 patients have received the Stryker hip replacement products.

More than 200 federal lawsuits against Stryker regarding the Rejuvenate and ABG II devices have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota under Judge Donovan W. Frank.

Other manufacturers of hip replacement devices that have been targeted in lawsuits or prospective legal action include:

  • Wright Medical Technology, for its Conserve Plus and Profemur Z products.
  • Zimmer, for its Metasul Durom Cup.
  • Biomet, for the M2A Magnum product.
  • Smith & Nephew, for its R3 Acetabular System.

Our Lawyers Can Help

If you or a loved one has received a metal-on-metal hip replacement device and are experiencing pain and other adverse effects, contact our law office for a free consultation. You may contact us by telephone (866-416-4737), email (cth@hasbrooklaw.com) or use our website contact form.

Hasbrook & Hasbrook attorneys have a total of more than 75 years of experience representing Oklahoma citizens who have experienced harms or losses due to defective products, accidents, negligence, abuse, medical malpractice, wrongful termination, sexual harassment and discrimination.