Q: What is a hip replacement?
A hip replacement, like the ones subject to the Stryker hip recall, consists of an artificial joint (or “prosthesis”) that’s made up of a metal or ceramic ball that moves inside a socket. Hip replacements are designed to be biocompatible—meaning your body won’t reject them—and to last about 10 to 20 years following the surgery. However, approximately one in ten hip replacements will require a second procedure called a revision. During hip revision surgery the faulty implant is removed and replaced with a new one.
Q: Why do some hip implants need to be replaced?
Patients may need a revision for several reasons. For example, the joints on an implant may become too loose due to the constant friction of the joint rubbing up against the socket. A joint can also become dislocated, meaning it’s popped out of its normal position. A revision may also be required if bacteria on the implant causes the surrounding tissue to become infected, resulting in painful swelling.
Q: What replacement hips are sold by Stryker?
Stryker manufactures two types of hip replacement units: the Rejuvenate and the ABG II. These models are different from traditional hip implant devices in several ways. First, the Stryker prostheses are made entirely of metal. The metal-on-metal design was initially thought to make the implants more durable and longer-lasting. Second, Stryker implants have a greater number of components, giving surgeons the ability to install the implant in a way tailored specifically to the needs of the patient.
Q: Why were Stryker hip replacements recalled?
In July 2012, Stryker voluntarily recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacements due to potential risks associated with the models’ metal-on-metal design. Among these risks was the potential for fretting, or wear and corrosion caused by friction between the hip’s metal components. This form of wear can cause a number of dangerous complications.
Q: What types of injuries are associated with the Stryker hip recall?
A condition known as metallosis is one of the most common injuries associated with Stryker replacement hips. This occurs when the constant friction between the metal surfaces of the hip causes metallic particles to be released into the body and deposited in the patient’s soft tissue, including the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Stryker implants have also been claimed to cause bone loss and local tissue necrosis, or death of the tissue surrounding the implant caused by a lack of blood flow to the area.
Q: What are some common symptoms of these injuries?
Patients suffering from complications related to the Stryker hip recall have reported experiencing a number of symptoms, including:
- Extreme swelling in the hip, leg, groin, or lower back
- Pain and tenderness in the joints
- Popping sounds coming from the artificial joints
- Difficulty walking
Q: Do I have a legal claim against Stryker?
All manufacturers have a duty to sell products that are safe to use as intended. As a result, if you’re injured by a product you may be able to sue the manufacturer for monetary compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are three ways you can do this —first, you can show that there was a design defect, meaning the product was designed in a way that’s dangerous to everyone using it. Another way is by showing the product had a manufacturing defect, meaning something went wrong in the manufacturing process that caused some of the products to be dangerous. Lastly, a product can have defective warnings, which means that the manufacturer gave faulty instructions or didn’t warn about certain dangers associated with the product.
Q: What are some of the lawsuits Stryker is facing?
In the year following the Stryker hip recall, a large number of lawsuits have been filed by patients who received the recalled implants. For example, over 40 lawsuits have been filed in federal courts throughout the country since July 2012, with as many as 110 possibly related suits joining those already filed. In New Jersey alone, so many lawsuits had been filed seeking compensation for injuries related to the Rejuvenate and ABG II implants that the suits had to be consolidated and heard by a single judge.
Q: What should I do if I received a Stryker hip implant?
The manufacturer suggests that patients who received Rejuvenate or ABG II implants see their surgeon for an evaluation, even if they aren’t experiencing adverse symptoms. If you’ve experienced any symptoms since receiving a Stryker implant, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney as well. A product liability lawyer will be able to advise you about your legal options and whether you may be entitled to compensation.