Zimmer Hip Implant Lawsuit | Zimmer Hip Problems Metallosis

Reported Zimmer Hip Problems Twofold

Staff Writer | June 22nd, 2012

According to Zimmer hip implant lawsuit complaints, the Durom Acetabular Cup (Durom Cup) is prone to device loosening and failure, and can also cause metal poisoning in recipients. While the manufacturer maintains that these issues are rare, and a product of surgical error, the company did enact a temporary suspension of sales in 2008 to investigate reports. As of 2012, Zimmer continues to sell the Durom Cup and reports that Zimmer hip problems are only experienced in 1.5%-5.7% of cases; others claim that this number exceeds 24%.

Zimmer hip problems include metal poisoning

Zimmer’s Durom Cup utilizes a metal-on-metal design that features a porous surface intended to allow boney ingrowth, thus fusing the implant to the patient’s joint. However, according to complaints from Zimmer hip implant lawsuit plaintiffs, the implant does not always sit properly in the hip socket, and therefore can migrate, move, or merely pop out of its intended location.

Larry Dorr, M.D., a renowned orthopedic surgeon, was the first medical professional to publicly address these concerns. In 2008, Dr. Dorr submitted a letter to the membership of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS), stating that within two years of the initial surgery, Zimmer’s Durom Cup was prone to loosening and device failure.

Though Zimmer maintains that the Durom Cup has just a 1.5% to 5.7% failure rate – an acceptable number, according to industry standards – one Zimmer hip implant lawsuit alleged that the true number is “upwards of 24%.”

Device loosening a prime Zimmer hip implant lawsuit allegation

The Durom Cup is a metal monoblock implant comprised of chromium and cobalt alloys, with an additional coating of titanium plasma spray. These metals are responsible for alleged metallosis (metal poisoning) associated with the device.

According to complaints, metal-on-metal hip devices can shed metallic particles into a patient’s bloodstream, causing a build-up of heavy metals and eventually, metallosis. This can provoke an immune response and result in long-term health consequences, including dead tissues that the New York Times coined a “biological dead zone.”

Zimmer hip replacement recall?

Though Zimmer has never issued a Zimmer hip replacement recall, the manufacturer initiated a voluntary suspension of sales in July 2008 for the Durom Cup. However, the company stated that it found no problems with the device’s design, materials or manufacture, and returned its product to the market in August 2008.

Zimmer maintained that the problem was not its implant, but the implanting surgeons’ skill – or lack thereof. The company claimed that all-metal implants are technically challenging to implant, but that they preserve the hip’s natural cavity and reduce the risk of dislocation.

To combat Zimmer hip problems, the company released updated surgical instructions. However, patient complaints suggest that the same issues still exist. Most complaints involve allegations of device loosening, while some claim metal poisoning, either as a stand-alone complaint or in conjunction with hip implant failure.