Biomet has reached settlements with hundreds of plaintiffs who were injured by the Biomet M2A-38. This metal-on-metal hip implant has been linked to high rates of metal toxicity (metallosis) and complications requiring premature revision surgery.
What is the Biomet M2A-38?
Biomet Orthopedics Inc. manufactures the M2a-38, a metal-on-metal hip implant is made from chromium and cobalt. It is marketed as more resistant to wear than metal-on-plastic hip implants, with a wider range of motion.
Biomet Reaches $56 Million Settlement for M2a-38 Hip Implants
February 2014 — Reuters reported that Biomet agreed to pay $56 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits related to defective M2a-38 and M2a Magnum hip implants.
A base award of $200,000 will be granted to plaintiffs who needed revision surgery after having the device for at least 180 days. However, some plaintiffs could receive more if they require additional medical treatment. The settlement will resolve a Multi-District Lawsuit (MDL No. 2391) that began in 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
As of April 2014, more than 1,600 lawsuits were pending in the litigation. These lawsuits are not part of a Biomet hip implant class action — instead, they are individual lawsuits filed by people who hired an attorney to represent their legal and financial interests.
What is the problem?
Lawsuits allege that the Biomet M2a-38 is defective due to its metal-on-metal design. Numerous studies have found that all-metal hip implants are more likely to cause complications or fail prematurely compared to plastic, ceramic, and other materials.
The problem is that whenever the patient walks, the metal parts can grind together and release tiny particle of chromium and cobalt into the patient’s hip. These particles can also be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing metallosis (metal toxicity).
Other complications may include pain, swelling, inflammation, soft-tissue growths, bone death, systemic reactions in other areas of the body, and more. In many cases, these complications require revision surgery.