Thursday, January 5, 2012

Zimmer Hip Replacement Problems Spark Complaints

In 2011 alone, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 5,000 consumer complaints related to metal-on-metal hip implant devices. One such device is Zimmer Inc.'s Metasul Durom Cup, a hip replacement device recommended to young, active patients who are expected to outlive the useful life of traditional hip replacement products.

Zimmer Hip Replacement Shows High Rate of Failure

Zimmer hip replacement problems went public in 2008, when Dr. Larry Dorr reported that the Metasul Durom cup had a high Zimmer hip failure and replacement rate. Dr. Dorr, who has conducted thousands of hip replacement surgeries, revealed that more than 8% of his hip replacement patients required Zimmer hip revision surgery to remove the device, many within two years of implantation. As of July 2008, 12,000 people in the United State had already received Durom Cup hip replacements. If Dr. Dorr's statistics hold true, almost 1,000 would require removal and replacement.
Loose Durom Cup Causes Health Problems

In 2008, Zimmer Inc. suspended sale of the Durom Cup replacement to address concerns about the device. The metal-on-metal implant reported loosened, developing radiolucent lines and possible device migration. As a result, patients experienced discomfort and were subject to metallosis, or metal poisoning. Metallosis occurs when metallic particles from the implant are released into the patient's bloodstream and surrounding tissues. Symptoms of metallosis range from pain and rash to pseudotumors, which are inflamed cells that resemble tumor masses.

Zimmer hip replacements allegedly cause metallosis, and affected patients were forced to undergo device removal and hip revision surgery. Despite anecdotal evidence, Zimmer Inc. maintains that problems with their Metasul Durom Cup are due to doctor error and not device failure. After a brief sales suspension period, later in 2008 Zimmer Inc. put their device back on the market.

As of October 2011, the FDA has requested reports from 21 orthopedic device manufacturers outlining how they plan to monitor their devices after surgery. The companies have up to one year to respond.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems related to a Zimmer hip replacement, speak with your surgeon or doctor about your options. Do not sign Zimmer release forms, and contact an attorney experienced in Zimmer hip mediation before undergoing additional surgery.