Zimmer Hip Problems: Dr. Dorr Right or Wrong?
When legal and medical experts mention Zimmer hip replacement problems, they are usually referring to a device called the Zimmer Durom Cup and hip implant complications discovered by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Dorr.
“It’s a bad design,” Dr. Dorr said of the Durom Cup in a 2008 New York Times Interview. He previously announced critical thoughts about the Zimmer Durom Cup failure in an open letter to thousands of US orthopedic surgeons.
“We do not believe the fixation surface is good on these cups,” Dr. Dorr wrote in April 2008 of the Durom Cup. He was referring to the surface of the component that sits in a recipient’s acetabulum or hipbone and cups the femoral component of the hip replacement system.
“When we hit on the edge of the cup it would just pop free,” he wrote. The plasma-sprayed titanium fixative, which was designed to fuse to the hipbone without fixative, wasn’t doing its job.
Dr. Dorr made this determination based on the results of 165 total hip replacement surgeries he performed himself between 2006 and 2008. After two years, 14 out of 165 patients required revision surgery. The Durom Cup is marketed to last 15 years or more, and the early hip failure rate is alarming according to Zimmer hip lawyers and product liability firms.
Zimmer hip complications lead to suspension of sales
Zimmer responded to Dr. Dorr’s study by suspending sales of the Durom cup for a two months in 2008. The company did not initiate a Zimmer hip recall, as has been widely reported in legal literature published across the media. The company remarketed the Durom Cup in Fall 2008 with updated surgical instructions. Zimmer said Dr. Dorr’s improper technique was responsible for the Zimmer hip replacement problems he reported.
To this day it is unclear exactly why the Durom Cup caused Zimmer hip problems for hundreds of recipients.
Dr. Dorr is one of the best-respected orthopedic surgeons in the US, having performed more than 3,500 hip and knee replacements in the last decade. He has designed several orthopedic devices and pioneered cutting-edge techniques in use by orthopedic surgeons around the world. Many surgeons cite Dr. Dorr and his team as one the top hip replacement surgeons in the world. For these reasons Zimmer paid Dr. Dorr for consulting services until 2010.
When Zimmer remarketed the Durom Cup in fall 2009, the company cited data from abroad that showed the device was safer than alternatives acetabular components. The data is perhaps misleading. Outside the US the Durom Cup is used in hip resurfacing, a procedure that aims to preserve much of the femur. The Durom Cup is not approved for hip resurfacing in the United States.
Today, dozens of Zimmer hip lawsuits have been filed involving claims of Zimmer hip replacement problems. Whether the surgeon, the surgical technique or the device itself is at fault, people who suffer from Zimmer hip replacement problems have a right to be compensated for unwittingly becoming involved in the controversy.