Stryker, a medical device manufacturing company and its subsidiary, Howmedica Osteonics, have reached a settlement for patients who were required to have revision surgery to correct problems with their Rejuvenate or ABG II modular metal-on-metal neck hip stems.
The defective hip design, which was recalled in July of 2012, earned the company about 4,000 lawsuits that were settled in an agreement reached by Court-appointed committees and attorneys. The settlement included any and all patients who received revision surgery prior to Dec. 19, 2016.
The defective design had potential for corrosion that led to tissue damage and blood poisoning if the metal ions were absorbed into the bloodstream. The symptoms included pain and swelling, as well as elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in the blood.
Metal-on-metal devices, specifically hip implants, were designed with the intention to be more durable and last longer than artificial hips made from other materials. The hips, instead, failed in as little as two years, whereas hips made from other materials can last 20 years or more.
DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has faced upwards of 8,400 lawsuits for its ASR hip implant systems, which had similar problems of leaching metal ions into the bloodstream. Other hip implant manufacturers such as Wright Medical, Smith & Nephew and Zimmer Biomet Holdings have also been facing a high number of lawsuits from patients claiming injuries and revision surgeries due to the metal-on-metal devices.
The metal-on-metal components consist of a cobalt/chromium alloy that has potential of developing into cobalt poisoning, which has been linked to cardiomyopathy, blindness, deafness, numbness of the hands and feet, and weakness that have forced patients to be wheelchair bound.