Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Doctors Point Fingers at Zimmer in Hip Replacement Lawsuits

The tipping point in the Zimmer Durom Cup recall was a letter written by Lawrence D. Dorr, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who is the medical director of the Dorr Institute for Arthritis Research and Education in California. Dr. Door is considered to be an opinion leader in hip and joint replacement surgery and research around the world. Dr. Dorr found that 14 of the 165 Durom hip systems implanted at his clinic needed a Zimmer Hip revision surgery within two years of hip implant surgery. Several hip surgeons, including Dr. Dorr, of the Dorr Arthritis Institute at good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and Amar Ranawat, MD, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City have been working on a project to develop software for robotic-guided navigation for hip surgery.

The Zimmer Durom Cup artificial hip is a metal-on-metal implant, which was designed as a more advanced form of a hip resurfacing system. The device is designed out of a single piece of material and is supposed to avoid problems associated with traditional hip replacement components, such as instability, limited range of motion and wear of the bearing. Shortly after Zimmer introduced the Durom Cup in the United States, concerns emerged about a high number of Zimmer hip implant failure involving the hip implant, where the component loosened and required revision surgery. A temporary Zimmer Durom Cup recall was issued in July 2008, so that parts could be redesigned and doctors could be retrained in how to use the implant.

Approximately 12,000 individuals had the Zimmer Durom Cup system implanted in their hip between 2006 and 2008. While Zimmer’s own estimates in 2008 suggested that some doctors have experienced failure rates as high as 5.7%, more recent claims made in Zimmer Durom Cup lawsuits suggest that the artificial hip failure rate is between 20% and 30%. In October 2008, Zimmer disclosed that they had set aside $47.5 million to settle Durom Cup claims, and they indicated during their fourth-quarter of 2008 earnings report that the reserves had been increased to $69 million. The $75 million reported this year appears to be in addition to that amount. Victims suffering from Zimmer hip failure are advised to contact an experienced Zimmer hip lawyer immediately.

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