In July 2012, Stryker recalled the Rejuvenate and ABG II after the devices were linked to high rates of fretting and/or corrosion — defects that could cause a person to suffer heavy metal poisoning, cobalt poisoning, metallosis, and other severe side effects.
The lawsuits were filed in New Jersey, in Bergen County Superior Court. In the lawsuits, the plaintiffs accuse Stryker of negligence for failing to properly design, test, manufacture, and market the hip implants. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their extensive injuries — many have endured extreme pain and suffering, medical expenses for revision surgery, and permanently decreased quality of life.
Others have suffered femur fractures during revision surgery to have the recalled implant removed. Because the recalled implants are femoral-stem devices, which are driven into the femur, removing them can be difficult. Implanting a replacement device involves re-driving an implant into the femur. The surgery can be traumatic and there is a risk of femur fracture. In some patients, the risks of revision surgery may be greater than the risk of metal poisoning, and the patient may be forced to live with a recalled implant inside their body.
Stryker spokeswoman Jeanine Guilfoyle declined to comment on the litigation, saying, “As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on legal matters.”
The New Jersey lawsuits are not the first lawsuits to be filed against Stryker. Several plaintiffs in Florida have already filed lawsuits. The first plaintiff to file a lawsuit was Diane Pingle, who suffers from chronic fatigue and pain caused by cobalt poisoning from her hip implant. During revision surgery, she also had a bone fracture.
The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II have a metal-on-metal component in the modular neck. Unlike most other hip implants, which have a solid femoral neck, the Rejuvenate and ABG II have an interchangeable modular neck, which allows an orthopedic surgeon to fit the device into a patient using different-sized components. Unfortunately, the metal parts of the modular neck can grind together when the patient moves. They can shed tiny particles of chromium and cobalt into the patient’s tissues. This can cause tissue damage/death, bone loss, inflammation, chronic pain, dislocation of the hip joint, pseudotumors, metal poisoning, and other debilitating side effects.
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