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Zimmer Hip Failure Lawsuit Filed in California

A man from Fontana, California has filed a Zimmer hip failure lawsuit, alleging the company knowingly marketed a defective device. The lawsuit was filed on May 13, 2013, at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The Zimmer hip lawsuit plaintiff allegedly suffered complications after being fitted with Zimmer’s Durom Cup hip replacement system. According to court documents filed by the plaintiff’s Zimmer Durom Cup lawyer, he continues to experience pain and suffering as a result of the implant, which was temporarily recalled from the market by Zimmer in 2008 after the instructions for use were found to be “inadequate.”

Zimmer hip failure lawsuit numbers on the rise

It’s estimated that some 12,000 patients have been implanted with the Durom cup hip replacement system. Made from a single sheet of cobalt chromium alloy with a pure titanium plasma-sprayed coating to fix it in place, the Durom cup is, according to Zimmer’s marketing campaign, a “high-tech” system that would provide greater stability and an increased range of motion. They also predicted a low failure rate of 5.7%.

Hip implants like the Durom cup are a mainstay of Zimmer’s $4 billion business. But a growing number of patients are coming forward to allege a variety of unexpected hip replacement complications.

Problems cited by Zimmer hip failure lawsuit plaintiffs include:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Loosening of the implant
  • Immobility
  • Tissue death
  • Revision surgery

Some patients have been forced to undergo hip replacement revision surgery, a long, complex procedure that requires removal of the old device and the fitting of a replacement.

Former Zimmer consultant alleged ‘design flaws’

A few years after the Durom cup first hit the market in 2006, a former consultant for Zimmer publicly expressed concerns about the system’s design. Dr. Lawrence Dorr pointed to design flaws that could result in failure rates as high as 24% – more than four times higher than Zimmer’s prediction.

In an open letter to members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dr. Dorr stated that, out of 165 Zimmer Durom Cup implants he had performed, 14 required revision surgery within the space of two years – well below the predicted life expectancy of hip implants.

Similar concerns have been expressed by other medical professionals. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, 18 separate pieces of hip implant research were analysed. Data from 3,139 patients was looked at to establish “functional outcomes” for each patient (their ability to perform routine, daily activities). The report found that Zimmer’s claims of superiority was unsubstantiated, and that functional outcomes for patients with a Durom Cup were no better than with any other device.

Data from Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales, indicated a higher rate of revision surgery for patients with metal-on-metal implants such as the Durom Cup. There was also a higher incidence of hip dislocation in patients who received metal-on-metal implants.

Zimmer suspended sales of Durom Cup

Zimmer responded to Dr. Dorr’s letter in May 2008, announcing an internal investigation into the device. They temporarily suspended marketing and distribution of the Durom Cup.

Plaintiffs across the country continue to file Zimmer hip failure lawsuit actions after suffering complications as a result of the device. The company maintains that the device is not defective.