Doctor Raises Tough Questions for Zimmer
Zimmer hip lawsuits have recently sprung up in the wake of controversy touched off by one of the company’s star surgeons.
In 2008, Dr. Lawrence Dorr condemned the Zimmer Durom Cup- a device component used in the brand’s hip replacement systems. The orthopedic surgeon noted Zimmer hip failures within two years of implantation in 14 out of 165 patients. Dorr’s observations revealed an alarming statistic as the Zimmer Curom Cup was intended to last 15 years or more.
Possible source of Zimmer hip failure
During hip revision surgery, the source of the problem was revealed. “When we hit on the edge of the cup it would just pop free,” wrote Dr. Dorr. This observation indicated a failure of the device to ever make a successful bond with the patient’s natural bone.
Zimmer suspends hip device sales
Dr. Dorr’s medical conclusions resulted in a suspension of Durom cup sales for two months that same year. Ultimately, the company decided against issuing a Zimmer hip recall. Satisfied with its own conclusions contrary to the Dorr’s findings, Zimmer re-released the Durom cup to the market.
Considered an expert in hip surgeries, Dr. Dorr began to design implants for patients starting in 1982. He was also one of the first surgeons to use hydroxyapatite as a fixation surface on hip implants. With FDA approval, Dr. Dorr reintroduced metal-on-metal hip procedures to the United States in 1991. Currently, he is the president of the Hip Society and runs his own arthritis institute.
Having extensive experience with hip procedures and products, Dr. Dorr was disturbed by what he witnessed in his patients with the Durom Cup. Many experienced difficulty walking and pain that would develop weeks within just weeks of the hip surgery. A longtime consultant of Zimmer, Dorr contacted the manufacturer to report his findings and suggested that the product may be defective. Despite the testimony of Dorr and corroborating reports from other surgeons, Zimmer did not issue a hip recall of the device.
Still, Dr. Dorr’s remarks were heard. More patients have come forward exhibiting all of the symptoms of Zimmer hip failure as described by Dr. Dorr. There are approximately 12,500 Durom Cups in circulation. Failure of the implant to bond with bone can cause unexpected movement of the joint, loosening of the implant, and damage to the surrounding bones. Hip revision surgery is often the only solution to Zimmer hip failure. Patients wishing to heed Dr. Dorr’s warning should consult their own surgeons and consider whether to join in the mounting litigation against the manufacturer.