Monitoring Critical in First Two Years After Zimmer Hip Implant: Study
It was only a few months ago, in March 2012, that a study published in the Lancet showed that metal-on-metal hip implants have early failure rates that are two to four times higher than implants made with other kinds of materials. The British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency advised patients with all-metal implants to get annual exams for as long as 15 to 20 years.
Now, a new study published in the July 2012 issue of Orthopedics reports that when an implant like the Zimmer Durom cup fails, it usually does so within the first two years. In these cases, patients may experience Zimmer hip replacement problems like pain, instability, difficulty walking, and metal poisoning. A lawyer representing a plaintiff in a Zimmer hip implant lawsuit is likely to blame the manufacturer for designing a defective product.
Metal-on-metal (MoM) devices typically place a metal ball inside a metal cup, which can increase the risk of metal contamination when the components rub against one another.
Study shows Zimmer hip replacement problems show up early
For this study, researchers analyzed 80 patients who had to go through revision surgery because of a failed MoM implant. They found that failures were most often caused by a loosening of the acetabular cup, metal sensitivity, or infection. Revision surgery occurred in 78 percent of the patients within two years of implantation. Almost all of the patients—98 percent—had the implants removed within the first three years.
A Zimmer hip lawyer is likely to use this study to show that these implants were not adequately tested for safety before they were released on the market. Plaintiffs typically accuse Zimmer of defectively designing the Durom Cup, and of failing to warn of the risks.
This study also pointed out that one of the major problems with MoM implants is how the metal contamination can affect the tissues surrounding the hip joint. “Significant metallosis, soft tissue changes, and pseudotumors were observed in a number of patients at the time of revision,” researchers wrote.
Zimmer hip lawyer likely to blame design
Zimmer temporarily suspended sales of the Durom cup in 2008, but then re-released the device on the market with updated surgical instructions. This study confirms that MoM implants can be more difficult to implant, with correct placement of the cup being critical to future success. The position of the acetabular component was a major factor in whether or not patients experienced adverse metal reactions.
Plaintiffs filing a Zimmer hip implant lawsuit usually claim that the company failed to perform adequate safety tests before launching the product. Researchers in this study conclude that more studies need to be done before we can fully understand these metal components and their potential complications.