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Zimmer Hip Lawyer Seeks $150,000 Compensation for “Defective” Implant

A Zimmer hip revision surgery lawsuit alleges the company’s defective hip implants forced a Kentucky man to undergo multiple corrective procedures. The plaintiff is seeking $150,000 in damages after suffering “immense pain and diminution in his quality of life,” according to court documents filed in June in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Ashland Division.

The allegedly defective Zimmer components at the center of the charges were implanted in the plaintiff in June, 2010 as part of a prosthetic left hip system. The plaintiff – a citizen of Louisa, KY – required surgical revision of his hip replacement less than two months later, after the prosthesis popped out of place.

Over the next two years, the hip became dislocated on five separate occasions. Each incident caused the plaintiff to be confined to his house for roughly 30 days before he could resume normal activities. The final incident occurred in June 2012, and required hospitalization and two attempts at revision surgery. Both attempts failed and the man was eventually informed by surgeons that mechanical failure was to blame for the dislocations, prompting him to pursue a Zimmer hip revision surgery lawsuit.

According to a Zimmer hip lawyer representing the plaintiff, the components were “placed into the stream of commerce by the Defendants in a dangerous and defective condition which posed a threat to any user or consumer.” The Zimmer hip lawsuit claims that the defendant manufacturer knew or should have known of the high risk of bodily injury created by the components, and that they failed to provide adequate warnings.

Metal-on-metal components blamed for high failure rate

Most Zimmer hip replacements use metal-on-metal technology for the two main components, the ball and socket. The theory behind this technology is to provide a longer life and increase the range of motion compared with more traditional implants.

But increasing numbers of lawsuits are claiming that the company’s hip implants are defective and dangerous.

An estimated 12,000 patients have been implanted with Zimmer’s Durom cup hip replacement system, a device mentioned in thousands of lawsuits, and a key part of Zimmer’s $4 billion business. Made from a single sheet of cobalt chromium alloy with a pure titanium plasma-sprayed coating to fix it in place, the device is, according to Zimmer, a “high-tech” system that would give greater stability and increased flexibility. The company initially predicted a low failure rate of 5.7%.

Former consultant alleges design flaws

A former consultant for Zimmer, Dr. Lawrence Dorr, has publicly expressed concern about the design of the Durom Cup. Dr. Dorr says the Durom’s failure rate could be as high as 24%.

In an open letter to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dorr stated that 14 out of 165 surgeries he had performed required revision surgery within two years. The lifespan of traditional hip implants is around ten years.

Research published in the British Medical Journal looked at data from 3,139 patients. The report found that functional outcomes (the ability to perform routine physical tasks) for patients with a Durom Cup hip were no better than with any other device.

In May 2008, Zimmer responded to Dr. Dorr’s letter by announcing an internal investigation into the Durom Cup and temporarily suspending marketing and distribution of the implant. They have set aside close to $70 million in compensation funds for patients who have filed a Zimmer hip revision surgery lawsuit, but maintain the device is not defective, claiming any hip replacement complications experienced are down to improper surgical technique.