October 26, 2012 — A Birmingham hip implant lawsuit has been filed against Smith & Nephew by a woman and her husband. The woman was implanted with the hip resurfacing implant in October 2008, and alleges that its defective design caused her to suffer severe pain, permanent injuries, and required revision surgery. The lawsuit was filed by Cheryl and Ken Elmore in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on October 17.
Smith & Nephew has sold the Birmingham hip resurfacing implant since 2006. The device is a “metal-on-metal” implant, comprised of a metal acetabular cup and a femoral head that “resurfaces” the femur.
According to the complaint, in October 2008, Mrs. Elmore underwent a hip resurfacing procedure with the Birmingham hip resurfacing implant. At a check-up appointment a couple weeks later, her doctor found that her hip had loosened and would require revision surgery. By October 2009, Mrs. Elmore again suffered from looseness and “popping” in her hip joint. By February 2010, she suffered from a grinding sensation and had increasing pain when she moved her hip.
Subsequent check-ups in 2010 revealed that she had heightened metal ions in her bloodstream and fluid collection around the hip joint. In December 2010, she underwent yet another revision surgery and was implanted with another type of Smith & Nephew hip implant. Since that surgery, she has had repeated bone fractures.
Due to the pain she suffers from this hip implant, she requires narcotic painkillers. She must use a cane or other assistive devices to walk.
Hip resurfacing implants have been linked to a wide variety of side effects. Recently, researchers recommended that women should not undergo hip resurfacing procedures due to the “unacceptably high” risk of serious complications, compared to traditional hip implants.
Metal-on-metal hip implants (and hip resurfacing systems) have been the subject of many critical studies recently. Several studies have linked metal-on-metal designs to higher rates of failure and complications than plastic or ceramic devices. In some cases, the metal-on-metal parts can grind together, shed toxic nano-particles of chromium and cobalt into a patient’s body, and increase levels of metal ions circulating in the bloodstream. The implants have been linked to metallosis (metal poisoning), pain, inflammation, pseudotumors (non-cancerous soft tissue growths in the hip), necrosis of tissue and bone, and other complications that may require corrective surgery.