Stryker Faces Additional Plaintiffs In Hip Replacement Suit

Thursday, September 13, 2012 from the News Tribune

Same article on 9/11/12 from Consumer Affairs

By Mark Huffman

A Florida law firm suing Stryker Orthopaedics over its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems says it has added seven more plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs are from Florida, Minnesota and Arizona.

"We have reached a decisive stage in this litigation as legitimate claims are now proliferating nationwide," said Cal Warriner, a shareholder at firm Searcy Denney, representing the eight total plaintiffs. "The Rejuvenate System has only been on the market since 2009, yet, just a few years later, an overwhelming number of patients have suffered heavy metal toxicity."

On July 6, Stryker announced the voluntary recall of its Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems.

“While modular-neck stems provide surgeons with an option to correct certain aspects of a patient’s anatomy and hip biomechanics, given the potential risks associated with fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction, Stryker Orthopaedics decided to take this voluntary action,” said Stuart Simpson, Vice President and General Manager, Hip Reconstruction at the company, at the time of the recall.

Not an improvement, suit claims

The suit claims the hip implants were marketed as improvements over other when they were not.

“In fact these systems have caused significantly more severe injuries than comparable systems on the market," Warriner said.

Warriner said the July recall amounts to “a clear admission that the product is defective and dangerous.” Stryker says it ordered the recall as a result of “post market surveillance data” that suggested a troubling trend.

In July Stryker said it had notified healthcare professionals and regulatory bodies of this voluntary recall. Patients who received a Rejuvenate Modular or ABG II modular-neck stem were encouraged to contact their surgeon.

Stryker's Rejuvenate System, which features a chrome cobalt neck and titanium stem, is designed for patients in need of primary total hip arthroplasty or replacement, often due to painful joint diseases caused by non-inflammatory degenerative arthritis.

Common procedure

Hip replacement is becoming a much more common procedure in the U.S., especially as the baby boomers age. Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the entire or portion of the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant. It's generally performed to either relieve the pain of arthritis or as the result of a hip fracture.

“People with hip joint damage that causes pain and interferes with daily activities despite treatment may be candidates for hip replacement surgery,” the National Institutes of Health says on its Website.

Currently hip replacement is the most common orthopaedic operation in the U.S.