Stryker LFIT™ Hip Replacement Recall:
Everything You Need to Know
Hip replacement surgery is no small matter. It can be invasive (although surgical technology has advanced considerably in recent years); it’s stressful; and the recovery is long. If post-surgical problems arise, you can need additional surgery to correct them. This page will provide you will everything you need to know about the Stryker LFIT™ hip replacement recall.
If you’ve had hip replacement surgery, you understand these concerns.
Before surgery, you and your doctor likely weighed potential risks and benefits, and you talked about the situation with your family before deciding to go ahead, hoping that hip replacement will relieve your pain and make life easier.
So, if you’ve had hip replacement surgery, you don’t want to hear that there’s a recall on surgical hip replacements. Just hearing the word “recall” can set off alarms and raise questions.
Van Wey Law is currently handling Stryker LFIT™ Hip Replacement Recall lawsuits and want to provide you with all of the information that you need to know about the latest recall. Let’s dive in:
What is the Stryker LFIT™ Recall?
In 2012, the hip replacement manufacturer Stryker announced it was issuing a voluntary recall on two products, the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular neck stems. The main problem with these components was the possibility of corrosion and the release of cobalt and chromium ions that could harm the bone and tissue surrounding the hip replacement.
The Rejuvenate and ABG II systems contain both cobalt and chromium. Their normal movements cause friction, and that friction releases microscopic shavings and metal debris into the patient’s bloodstream, causing metallosis, which causes painful inflammation – often a primary reason people have hip replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, patients across the United States received Stryker systems during their hip replacement surgeries; many people have experienced devastating pain, and most of these victims have needed additional surgeries to replace the defective parts.
Injured patients filed thousands of suits against Stryker in federal court and filed many more in state court. This tally includes more than 2,000 cases the courts designated as multicounty litigation in New Jersey. Eventually, Stryker announced it would settle the lawsuits, paying upwards of $1.4 billion to patients the implants had harmed.
Earlier this month, as settlements for the 2012 recall were just starting to wrap up, we learned that Stryker was going to issue another recall, this time on different hip replacement parts and models. The new recall relates to Stryker’s cobalt/chromium femoral head, the Stryker LFIT™ V40. The recall relates to only cobalt/chromium heads, not to heads made of ceramic or aluminum.
The affected cobalt/chromium femoral heads are in several models of hip replacement systems, including the Accolade TMZF and Accolade 2, in addition to the Meridian and Citation. A number of potential problems with the Stryker LFIT™ V40 femoral heads can lead to hip replacement failure, including:
- Femoral head disassociates from hip stem
- Lack of range of motion
- Excessive metallic debris
- Lack of soft tissue tension
- Poor bone fixation/loss of implant
- Disproportionate wear debris (polymeric)
- Fractured hip stem trunnion
- Noisy implants
- Implant with a shortened neck length
Ironically, the dangers resulting from Stryker’s defective medical devices are remarkably like the symptoms they should treat. The list of potential hazards may sound frightening, but it’s important to focus on gathering information that will help you move forward.
The term “head” refers to the metal ball portion of a hip replacement, and the “neck” is the top part of the stem portion, which connects to the femur after a doctor places the implant. The head and neck work together to replicate the movement of a real hip joint.
The hip replacement stem fails when its metal composition corrodes during the course of normal operation. This corrosion causes the juncture at the implant’s head and neck to erode. Since the head and neck are the two central pieces of the implant, the entire hip replacement can fail when corrosion causes this juncture to deteriorate.
What causes this corrosion?
In metal-on-metal implants such as these, the head and neck are made of similar metals (such as cobalt and chromium). As a person moves, the replacement hip joint operates, causing the head and neck components to rub against each other. This grinding causes the metal to corrode, which, in addition to causing pain, can require revision surgery. It can also cause the patient to have elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in his or her blood, which is a health hazard.
When the corrosion becomes particularly severe, physicians call it catastrophic dissociation. In this case, the hip replacement stem’s neck corrodes so much it can actually break.
When the damage to a hip replacement is extremely serious, your doctor will need to do more-extensive surgery to correct the damage, remove the defective stem, and replace it. This happened to patients affected by the 2012 recall of the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacements. It’s possible that patients who received the Stryker LFIT™ V40 femoral head will require similar treatment.
Surgery to replace a defective stem is even more difficult, because the femur bone grows into the stem once it’s placed, making the stem a permanent part of the bone.
This means that revision surgery can be complicated and risky. Doctors must go in and separate the implant from the bone that has grown into it. This can fracture the femur, meaning the patient will require additional time to heal not only from the surgery, but also from the broken bone.
The costs add up. First, there are the medical expenses associated with additional surgery for revision, time spent in the hospital, and follow-up appointments – not to mention the costs of a new implant, since your doctor will need to replace the defective one. There are the costs of recovery time, as well, and the need for physical therapy to help you regain your full range of motion. It’s also important to consider other costs, too, including emotional pain and suffering, and lost wages due to time you’re unable to work while you’re in the hospital and recovering.
What does the recall mean for you?
Stryker has a history of problems stemming back to the 2012 recall, and as new information about this latest recall continues to emerge, your best first step is to reach out to your doctor. Call the surgeon who implanted your device, and ask him or her to check your medical records and find out if you have the defective product.
If you do have one of the affected Stryker products, schedule an appointment for your doctor to check your hip thoroughly. Your doctor will definitely be aware of the recall and the signs and symptoms that could indicate a problem. Your doctor will let you know if he or she sees a potential problem that requires correction.
If you do have an affected Stryker hip replacement, it’s important to schedule follow-up checks with your doctor on a regular basis. If you have one of these products, you’re at an increased risk for problems. Talk to your doctor about your risks, and in between check-ups, be on the alert for problematic symptoms, such as:
- Loss of mobility
- One leg that’s shorter than the other
If you notice that you’ve developed any of these problems, call your doctor. Find out what the prognosis is and what your doctor recommends as a treatment plan. After you take care of your health concerns, you can think about other matters.
What are your Alternatives?
If you talk with your doctor and discover that a Stryker LFIT™ V40 hip implant femoral head is harming your health, you do have legal options for recovering damages, which can help with the medical expenses. In the case of the 2012 recall, Stryker settled lawsuits from affected patients to the tune of over $1 billion. There’s no reason to expect anything different with the new recall on the LFT V40.
Although this recall is new, doctors are already aware of it. If you received one of the recalled LIFT™ V40 femoral heads, you can expect to receive a letter from your doctor advising you of the recall in the near future.
Be sure to make an appointment to see your physician after you get the letter, regardless of whether you are having trouble. You may soon feel the effects of the corrosive hip replacement, and an appointment will ensure that you see your doctor in time to avoid some of the major problems this implant could cause.
You will likely also receive a letter from Stryker regarding the failure issues or perhaps from a company it has hired to handle damage claims from the faulty devices. Since Stryker has a history of problems with its products, we have an idea of what to expect from the company. To avoid a lot of negative press, especially since it is just wrapping up the last round of lawsuits, the company probably will contact patients proactively and offer to help. It will be tempting to take the offer.
Recovering from your first – or second if it’s your other hip – invasive surgery was no easy feat. Knowing another surgery is on the horizon may be frustrating. The team of skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Van Wey Law can help protect your rights and advocate for fair and full compensation. We retain the right to file lawsuits against the manufacturer, Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, which operates as Stryker Orthopaedics.
A successful lawsuit can compensate you for the suffering and pain you experience, the cost of surgery and hospital bills, and time lost from work. No one should have to deal with pain from a defective device because the manufacturer didn’t do proper testing. Protect yourself first by seeking medical care, and then protect others by filing a suit against this repeatedly negligent corporation, whose job was to provide parts that helped, not harmed, patients.
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