In June 2012, Smith & Nephew issued a global recall for a metal liner used exclusively with the R3 Acetabular Hip System. The recall was issued after patients reported a higher rate of problems with the R3 than with other hip replacements. Complications may include infections, bone fracture, dislocation, and the need for early revision surgery.
What is the problem?
The Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular System is hip implant designed to accommodate several different types of liners, including plastic, metal, and ceramic. When an R3 metal liner is used in combination with a metal femoral head, this results in a metal-on-metal hip implant.
Metal hip replacements were originally marketed as longer-lasting than plastic or ceramic hip implants, but many health experts now warn that all-metal hips pose additional risks to patients, including metal poisoning, corrosion, and premature failure of the implant.
Between 2009 and June 2012, about 4,000 R3 Acetabular metal liners were implanted in Americans. Patients who received a recalled device may have legal options for filing a Smith & Nephew R3 hip implant lawsuit. Many lawsuits have already been filed. However, instead of a class action, each case is actually an individual lawsuit. Thousands of individual lawsuits have already been filed against several manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants.
Smith & Nephew R3 Hip Recall
On June 1, 2012, Smith & Nephew Orthopedics initiated a recall of metal liners used with the R3 Acetabular Hip System. The R3 metal liner is only used with the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System. According to the Australian recall announcement:
- The United Kingdom’s National Joint Registry, which shows a revision rate of 6.3% at 4 years (compared to 2.89% at 4 years for all primary total hip replacements in the UK).
- The Australian Orthopaedic Association’s NJRR which shows a revision rate of 2.48 revisions per 100 observation years (compared with a revision rate of 0.79 revisions per 100 observation years for all primary total hip replacements in Australia).
Complications of a Defective Smith & Nephew R3 Hip Implant
Complications are associated with the metal liner of the R3 Acetabular System. The liner is made of chromium and cobalt. These metals have been shown to release ions into the body, which can lead to local tissue reactions (pain, inflammation, swelling) and systemic complications (blood poisoning, metallosis, genotoxicity, and more).
Complications of a defective R3 hip implant:
- Loosening or dislocation of the hip
- Chronic pain
- Metal sensitivity
- Metal poisoning (metallosis)
- Pseudo-tumors (soft-tissue growths)
- Bone loss
- Early revision surgery
- And more
Those who experience complications of the Smith & Nephew R3 hip implant are advised to speak with their doctors immediately. Not all of the implants are defective, but if problems occur, patients may need to have revision surgery to remove and replace the implant.