The Stryker Hip Recall Lawsuit and Settlement

Stryker Hip Replacement Recall

When you make any large purchase in life, you probably compare different companies to each other.  For instance, you try to decide if Sony or Samsung is the best brand of television to purchase for the money.  Like all technology, hip implants are also created by different manufacturers, but the general public usually doesn’t get the chance to choose which company they want.  In most cases, your orthopedic surgeon weighs the benefits and risks of a particular brand of hip implant, and then they use it to help replace your aching joint.

Again, like other technology, hip implants can have structural defects that go unnoticed, and this is what happened in the Stryker hip implant case.  Several of the models manufactured by this company have severe flaws that can cause pain and illness that rivals what you may have experienced before.  If you have hip pain well before you should, it helps to contact your orthopedic surgeon to determine what brand of implant you received.  Before you agree to surgery, you should contact a lawyer to determine if you are eligible for legal action and to preserve the evidence of its failure.  Even if you don’t have symptoms currently, you may need to take legal action against the possibility of implant failure in the future.

Models Recalled

Stryker has made many different models of hip implants.  Some are improvements on older models, such as when new materials are FDA approved for the use in hip replacement.  Some are dependent on the patient, such as different models for different anatomy types.  When you contact your orthopedic surgeon, it is important to not only discover what brand name of hip replacement you received, but to get the specific model number.  Not all of the Stryker hip implants have been recalled, and if you are experiencing problems, knowing that you are not in danger of a bad implant can help to refine your search for answers.

The two Stryker hip implants that have been recalled are the Rejuvenate Modular Hip System and the ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem.  These models have been in use since June of 2008, so if you had your surgery after that time, you may find that this implant was used on you.  Unfortunately, Stryker does not keep records of who received implants from their company.  Certain other implants, such as pacemakers, do keep records, but this is not the case in orthopedic implants.  The best source of information is your surgeon, but if they are not forthcoming, you may need to turn to legal representation to learn the truth.

Symptoms of Bad Hip Replacement

Most patients find that they have pain in the hip far sooner than they would anticipate with a replacement.  As most patients know, replacement hips do not usually last a lifetime.  In fact, many need to have revisions done in approximately ten to twenty years.  However, with the recalled hip replacements, the pain in the hip joint can occur right after the surgery or within only a few years of the surgery.  The pain is often similar to what you experienced before you had the surgery to replace a diseased hip. You may also experience pain in the groin, below the buttocks, shooting down your leg. You may have difficulty walking without a limp.

The pain tends to occur when the hip is most active, such as walking up stairs.  In addition, any flexion of the hip, or movement of the knee forward or toward the chest, can cause pain.  This is due to the erosion of the tissue surrounding the implant and impingement of nearby nerves.  Some patients also experience redness and swelling over their hip, and these symptoms occur far sooner than you or your surgeon expects to see them.  Another symptom is metallosis from the breakdown of the hip implant.  Cobalt and chromium shavings can break free of the device, and small lumps can form over the hip to isolate the metal.  In some patients, the systemic signs of cobalt poisoning are present, such as peripheral neuropathy, rashes, and problems seeing or hearing.  However, this is relatively rare, and pain and limitation with movement are usually the only signs of a bad implant.

Steps to Take

Your first step to sorting through this problem is to call your orthopedic surgeon.  Simply asking them to get back to you with the name of your device may be enough, but some offices require that you submit a formal written request for medical records.  These records may even be at the hospital and not accessible by your doctor’s office. To identify specifically what device was used in your surgery, contact the hospital medical records department and ask for a copy of you implant log (this shows all the component parts and their identifying numbers). Also, ask your surgeon for a copy of all the surgical records. Although it does seem to be a hassle, getting the records officially will save a great deal of time when you go to make your claim.  It is worth it to formally request your records from both the doctor and the hospital.  You have a legal right to these documents, but you may have to pay a fee to access them due to clerical costs.

Next, if you are a patient with this implant, you need to contact a lawyer.  This may seem reactionary, but it is the only way to protect your rights.  Even if you are not having symptoms, it is important to know the device you have and seek legal counsel.  The lawsuit is only open for a set period, and if you wait for symptoms, you may not be able to recoup any damages once the case is settled.  If you are having symptoms, you need to seek legal counsel to ensure that the evidence, the implant, is not disposed of or tampered with.  In addition, having legal counsel will allow you to ensure that you document all of your interactions with surgeons and receive compensation for your claim.

If you have an implant that is metal on metal, you need to have a blood test to determine the level of chromium and cobalt that has shed into you body. You can have this specific blood test performed by your family doctor.

After you have the information and legal backing, surgery to remove the painful implant is generally the next step. It is absolutely essential that when the device is removed during your revision surgery that it be save and given to you. This is very important evidence and you should use an attorney to make sure you are given the explanted device. If you are not having pain, you may not need surgery, but chances are you will need some form of medical intervention on your hip far before you or your surgeon planned.  For your protection, a lawyer can help you to navigate these sometimes confusing waters of medical law and class action law suits.

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