Zimmer Hip Failure | Zimmer Hip Replacement Lawsuit News

Why Zimmer Suspended Hip Sales

Shay Morrigan | November 14th, 2011

In 2008, Zimmer implemented a three-month suspension of the sales of the Durom Cup rather than issue a Zimmer hip recall of one of its most popular hip implant devices. The model was back on the market after just three months with amended surgical instructions.  The device manufacturer placed blame on the surgeons and their techniques rather than admit to any flaw in the design or device itself.

Early cases of Zimmer hip failure

The Zimmer Durom Cup, which is the subject of a growing number of plaintiffs’ Zimmer hip replacement lawsuit, is an all-metal device made of a cobalt-chromium alloy. Although some patients allege to have suffered from premature Zimmer hip failure of the Durom Cup implant, the device is intended to last longer than earlier models and to provide years of normal activity for younger, more active patients.

Reputable orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Dorr first alerted the joint maker to the problems in 2008, but Zimmer argued that any instances of Zimmer hip failure were due to surgeon training, not to the device itself. Dr. Dorr then notified members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons about what he considered to be higher than expected rates of Zimmer hip failure in regard to the Durom Cup model. Dr. Dorr’s report highlighted problems he saw in his own patients, such as premature hip implant loosening requiring hip revision surgery.  Such problems subsequently formed the basis of many plaintiffs’ Zimmer hip replacement lawsuit.

Dr. Dorr called on a defective design as the underlying reason for Zimmer hip failure in the Durom Cup. Instead of being cemented to the patient’s bone, the Durom Cup implant was supposed to encourage natural bone fusing to the titanium-coated components.   Yet out of 165 surgeries researched by Dr. Dorr, 14 patients required hip revision surgery after only 2 years — an unexpectedly high revision rate according to Dorr. A significant number of patients who reported a similar later filed a Zimmer hip replacement lawsuit.

Joint manufacturer looks into Zimmer hip failure

Once Dr. Dorr’s study results became publicly known, Zimmer agreed to investigate the reports of Zimmer hip failure. They did not issue a Zimmer hip recall, as they did not feel there was enough evidence to warrant it. Instead, they voluntarily suspended sales for three months while reviewing all of the evidence.

Though the company made it clear that the action was merely a “suspension of sales” and not a Zimmer hip recall of the Durom Cup, patients who had experienced premature hip failure began to inquire about filing a Zimmer hip replacement lawsuit.

Zimmer’s plan to reduce rate of hip failure

After three months, Zimmer concluded that the Durom Cup was not defective, but that to avoid further instances of early Zimmer hip failure, it would require more finesse in implantation than older devices. They re-released the product with new instructions for surgeons.