Zimmer Hip Failure | Zimmer Hip Revision Surgery

Plaintiffs Allege Zimmer Hip Failure Leads to Revision Surgery

Whitney Taylor | December 9th, 2011

Plaintiffs who have sued orthopedics manufacturer Zimmer because of its Durom Cup hip implant have alleged that they experienced unexpected Zimmer hip failure of the device, in some cases requiring Zimmer hip revision surgery to completely replace the implant.  In their Zimmer hip failure lawsuit complaints, some injured patients indicate that while the FDA has never ordered a Zimmer recall for the Durom Cup, the manufacturer did implement a voluntary suspension of sales of the Durom Cup in 2008 to review the safety of the device and to clarify and expand surgical instructions for doctors.

History of alleged Zimmer hip failure

The Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement device was first introduced on the market in 2006. Plaintiffs in Zimmer hip failure lawsuits claim that Zimmer touted the Durom Cup as a new design that would offer greater range of motion and durability.

In 2007, however, at least one surgeon communicated his concerns about a potentially higher than average number of Durom Cup patients requiring Zimmer hip revision surgery. Dr. Lawrence Dorr reportedly reached out to Zimmer in 2007 after several of his own patients came to him with symptoms that indicated possible premature Zimmer hip failure of the Durom Cup. At the time, Dr. Dorr was not only an orthopedic surgeon with personal experience implanting the Durom Cup device, but had also been a paid Zimmer consultant. According to Dr. Dorr, Zimmer took no action in response to his concerns.

Surgeon voices concern about Zimmer hip revision surgery rates

At at a 2008 meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dr. Dorr again voiced his concerns about higher than expected rates of Zimmer hip failure, potentially leading to the necessity for Zimmer hip revision surgery. In a New York Times report on alleged Zimmer hip failure, Dr. Dorr is quoted as saying that at the 2008 conference he again communicated his worries, in person, to a Zimmer official.

“I saw one of Zimmer’s engineers at a meeting,” Dr. Dorr states, according to the NY Times, “and I told her that you should pull this [Durom] cup because you are crippling patients.”

Dr. Dorr suggested that patient reports of early Zimmer hip failure were due to design problems with the Durom Cup, which was sometimes failing to naturally fuse to the patient’s bone, as it was meant to do after surgery.

Manufacturer replies to Zimmer hip failure accusations

Seeing no evidence for a Zimmer recall, the company instead took the Durom Cup device off the market for three months in 2008, so that it could examine reports of Zimmer hip failure, and consider the best way to ensure lower rates of Zimmer hip revision surgery. At the end of that time, Zimmer determined that the Durom Cup was not defective and attributed the rate of Zimmer hip failure to surgeon error. The company put the implant back on the market, with updated instructions for surgeons.

In a 2008 “Dear Surgeon” letter, Zimmer stated that its own investigation into alleged Zimmer hip failure turned up “no evidence of a defect in the materials, manufacture or design of the implant.”