The Zimmer products, sold under the brand name Durom, are marketed as a set of ball-and-socket components for use in hip resurfacing, or as a metal socket for use with other components in a conventional hip replacement, have been the subject of many a Zimmer Hip Lawyer. Researchers, whose study was underwritten by Zimmer, urged in their report that the Durom components no longer be used in standard implants because of “these excessively high metal ion levels.” In this country, the Durom product is used only in conventional implants; the resurfacing system is not approved for sale. A temporary Zimmer Durom Cup recall was issued in July 2008, so that revisions could be made to the product’s warnings and instructions to ensure that doctors were properly trained on the surgical techniques needed to implant the artificial hip correctly.
Over 12,000 people in the United States have had a Zimmer Durom Cup implanted during their hip replacement surgery. While Zimmer’s own estimates in 2008 suggested that some doctors experienced Zimmer hip failure rates as high as 5.7%, some claims have suggested that the between 20% and 30% of people may experience problems with a Zimmer Durom Cup hip. The recent Zimmer Durom Cup issues were first noticed by prominent orthopedicsurgeon, Dr. Larry Dorr, last year. He identified a high rate of problems with the Zimmer Durom Cup, where his patients were experiencing excruciating pain after their hip replacement which was being caused by the artificial hip socket separating from the bone, instead of fusing with it. After his concerns were dismissed by Zimmer, he published an open letter to his colleges in April 2008, which eventually led Zimmer to investigate the Durom Cup problems.
The orthopedic-device maker has since poured tens of millions of dollars into settlements, setting aside money for future lawsuits. And its hip business – still the largest in the world – has taken a hit. Zimmer spokesmen declined to comment on suits. The company has maintained that problems associated with the Durom cup were related to training, not a product flaw. Zimmer has said the product is safe and effective. During the 2009 fiscal year Zimmer saw its hip revenues fall 9 percent to $300 million compared with $330 million a year before.