In April 2016, we posted a blog entry about the expected proliferation of hip replacement product liability lawsuits. A recent recall by Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, also known as Stryker, has confirmed our suspicions.
The recall, issued on August 29, 2016, involves Stryker’s LFIT Anatomic V40 Femoral Heads (“LFIT V40 Femoral Heads”). While the recall is limited to slightly more than 42,500 LFIT V40 Femoral Heads (a considerable number in and of itself), the issues that caused the recall may be present in a much larger amount of products.
According to the recall, “Stryker received several complaints describing incidence of harm secondary to taper lock failure…”
Some have theorized that the recall is intentionally narrow so as to set up a defense for Stryker. Those theories suggest that the main issue with the hip implants is the interaction between the dissimilar metals of the LFIT V40 Femoral Heads (made from chromium/cobalt) and femoral stems made from Stryker’s TMZF alloy; the combination of metals combined with friction results in corrosion of the LFIT V40 Femoral Heads. The corrosion can lead to the absorption of Chromium and Cobalt into the recipient’s body (also known as cobalt poisoning and chromium poisoning), permanent damage to the recipient’s muscles and tissues (known as a local adverse tissue reaction and, at its most extreme, tissue necrosis), abnormal wear of the implants, and, if not addressed in a timely manner, dissociation and failure of the implants. In all of these situations, patients must undergo at least one additional surgery to remove the defective implants and replace them.
For more information on the theories as to why some hip implants fail, see our blog entry from before the recall, which details some of the mechanisms that may be responsible for hip implant failure.
Trief & Olk represents injured individuals in a variety of product liability actions, including medical devices and consumer products. If you have been injured because of an LFIT V40 Femoral Head or any other product, medical or otherwise, contact Trief & Olk by telephone or via our website’s submission form to find out more about how Trief & Olk can help you.