Zimmer Metasul Hip Lawsuit Filed - Metal Hip Implant Injury

Georgia Plaintiffs File Zimmer Metasul Hip Lawsuit

Dawn Snyder | September 3rd, 2014

zimmer metal hip implant

A Georgia couple from Duluth has filed a Zimmer Metasul hip lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, names as defendants Zimmer, Inc., Zimmer US, Inc., and Zimmer Holdings, Inc. which they allege designed and manufactured defective hip implant components.

The suit joins tens of thousands of lawsuits against manufacturers of metal on metal hip replacements.

Metal on metal hip complications

The first successful hip replacement was made in the 1950s; by the 1970s, manufacturers began testing metal on metal hips, assuming that metal components would wear better over time. But it quickly became apparent that metal hips led to more complications than traditional hip components. Complications included loosening of parts and migration of metal particles into the surrounding tissue, leading to pain, inflammation, infections, and other injuries.

According to a recent complaint, the current Zimmer Metasul Durom hip system was introduced in 2003. But rather than undergoing its own testing and FDA clearance process, it was fast-tracked to market in 90 days by merely notifying the FDA that it was “substantially similar” to the prior incantation of the metal hip that was abandoned for safety reasons in the early 1970s.

The current Zimmer Metasul Durom hip system contains several components including the Metasul LDH femoral head and a Durom acetabular cup, as well as some other smaller parts. The Durom system is different from other Zimmer Metasul hip components in that it contains a larger diameter femoral head. The design was intended to eliminate dislocation and resulting injuries but studies have shown that the size difference does not reduce the product’s failure rate.

GA plaintiff’s Zimmer Metasul Durom hip injuries

The Georgia plaintiff underwent two surgeries at an Atlanta hospital. The first was a total hip replacement in August 2009 after experiencing long-term pain from degenerative join disease. He was implanted with several Zimmer Metasul Durom components and initially felt better with relatively no pain. However, he later began feeling continuous pain in the left hip.

Nearly four years later, an x-ray showed that the implanted Zimmer acetabular cup had completely loosened. The plaintiff was unable to bear the pain for more than two weeks and quickly underwent revision surgery. The complaint alleges negligence, failure to warn, manufacturing and design defects, breach of warranties, and several more related causes of action.

Hip replacement is an invasive surgery in which a surgeon removes a portion of the hip bone to remove it from the femur. He then places a metal stem component into the cavity of the femoral bone and replaces the acetabulum, or natural hip socket, with a synthetic cup. The metal ball attached to the implanted stem then rotates inside of the synthetic acetabular cup.

Because the hip replacement depends on the body regrowing bone that firmly and permanently attaches to the replacement hip components, a failed prosthesis leads to painful and serious consequences.

In some cases, like that of the Duluth plaintiff, a patient must undergo revision surgery to remove the replacement hip components from the new bone growth.

  1. Justia Dockets & Filings, Brokas et al. v. Zimmer Holdings, Inc. et al, http://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-jersey/njdce/2:2014cv05295/308313

  2. National Institute of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine, Failure of the Durom Metasul Acetabular Component, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2806993/