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Stryker Hip Litigation Continues to Mount

stryker hip lawsuitsThe ongoing litigation involving Stryker hip replacements expanded significantly late last month as five new lawsuits were filed in New Jersey state court. The plaintiffs are asserting that Stryker failed to warn patients that a certain coating applied to the outside of the device could lead to severe metal toxicity in unsuspecting patients.

Stryker Corp. and its subsidiary Howmedica Osteonics Corp. are also facing liability for their Accolade TMZF hip stem and LFIT anatomic V40 femoral head.

Similar Stryker hip lawsuits  are pending in New Jersey court based on alleged injuries involving the now recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems.

Stryker hips linked to metal poisoning

It is inevitable that the ball and socket of a hip replacement device must rub together in the normal course of walking, running and physical activity. However, allegations surrounding the Stryker Accolade product assert that the titanium makeup of the hip stem cannot maintain “structural integrity” when used with the femoral heads, which are comprised of a cobalt and chromium allow mixture.

The combination of these two metals within the context of human tissue and bone has allegedly created a great deal of pain for hip replacement patients as the constant friction caused these metals to break off into the plaintiffs’ bodies. The presence of toxic metals in the body can potentially cause significant and permanent destruction of surrounding bone and tissues.

Plaintiffs’ allegations against Stryker

Plaintiffs allege that the metal toxicity caused by the Accolade hip replacement device occurred as a result of improper manufacturing and design, causing “fretting and corrosion.” In one complaint, the plaintiff contends she was implanted with the Accolade device in 2009 and thereafter began experiencing tremendous pain and difficulty with her hip replacement. After further testing, doctors uncovered a dangerous increase in metal ions and the patient was required to undergo painful, unexpected revision surgery.

Hip replacement litigation against Stryker

The Accolade hip implant system has been on the U.S. market since 2000. The titanium femur stem is actually implanted into the femur bone of the patient’s leg, which is then attached to the femoral head described above. A Class II recall was issued for the devices in January, 2009 following the revelation that certain lots of the Accolade TMZF hip devices had a bond strength issue due to the spray-on Hydroxyapatite coating used on the components. Nonetheless, these products are still on the market and regularly implanted in patients need hip surgery.

One condition often associated with the release of toxic metals into the body is known as osteolysis. Patients enduring this condition may experience reduced range of motion, squeaking noises and pain in the hip area. Much like the plaintiff described above, those with osteolysis may be required to have their hip implant replaced, requiring painful surgery and weeks or months of follow-up rehabilitation.

To date, over 1,500 Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits are currently pending both on the state and federal levels. Much of this litigation was filed after the ABGII and Rejuvenate recall in July of 2012.

Six hundred cases are pending in federal court, consolidated in multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Nine-hundred and fifty cases are pending in multi-county litigation in the New Jersey court system – the jurisdiction wherein Stryker Corp. is located.