Court records indicate that more than 80 Stryker hip lawsuits have been filed in a consolidated litigation underway in New Jersey state court since the announcement of the July 2012 recall of Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems.
According to filings in Bergen County Superior Court, plaintiffs allege the recalled Stryker hip implants shed dangerous amounts of metal ions when the metal components rubbed together, causing patients to suffer muscle, nerve and bone damage. Many of the plaintiffs also allege that they were forced to undergo revision surgery to remove the device after their Stryker hip had failed.
The majority of hip implants consist of a one-piece neck and stem. The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II systems, however, are modular neck hip implants. These are designed to be more flexible and both promise increased stability, better durability and less bone stress than the one-piece systems.
After receiving the implant, some patients have complained of severe pain and swelling in their hip area. According to doctors, the metal-on-metal components have the propensity to rub up against one another and cause problems, such as the release of dangerous levels of chromium and cobalt into the patient’s bloodstream. Cobalt has the ability to destroy cells and cause inflammation, bone loss and pain.
In many cases, patients develop a condition known as metallosis following implantation of hip devices. Metallosis occurs when metallic debris builds up in the tissues. When the two parts of the hip implant rub against one another, it creates friction and releases metallic ions of cobalt ant chromium into the body. These ions cause an autoimmune response. The immune system identifies the metal ions as foreign bodies and inflames the area around the debris. The body tries to trap the foreign particles in the inflamed area to avoid the metal being spread to the rest of the body. Symptoms of metallosis include pain around the site of the implant, pseudo tumors which collect fluid, as well as a noticeable rash that indicates dying tissue. The damages and inflamed tissue can also contribute to loosening of the implant or causing dislocation, since the tissue that would normally hold the implant in place is weakened. A blood test must be done to determine if the patient has metallosis. This cannot be shown on an x-ray or CAT scan. The only way to show metallosis is through a blood test.
Stryker has generated more than $8 billion annually from the sale of 57,000 products worldwide. In June 2008 the FDA approved the Rejuvenate and ABG II, which were then marketed in November 2009.
The FDA announced the Stryker hip recall on July 6, 2012. The company claimed that the reports of Stryker hip complications were extremely low. However, the Vice President of the company, Stuart Simpson, stated that the modular neck devices provided surgeons with an option they can use to repair certain aspects of a patient’s anatomy and biomechanics of the hip. But due to the danger of fretting and corrosion, they decided to recall the device voluntarily.
If you or a loved one has suffered damages or injuries from a Stryker hip replacement, please contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).