Earlier this month, Stryker Corporation, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of artificial hip implants, announced that it will pay approximately $1 billion to settle a number of lawsuits involving its all-metal hip implants. The Stryker implants, which were recalled in 2012, were marketed under the name Rejuvenate Modular-Neck and ABG II Modular-Neck.
The settlement comes just one year after Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy division agreed to pay around $2.5 billion in connection with its ASR Hip System, which it voluntarily recalled in 2010.
All-Metal Hip Implants And Metallic Debris
Both the DePuy ASR hip and the hip implants manufactured by Stryker were all-metal hip implants. Although all-metal hip implants were once a popular choice among orthopedic surgeons, the majority of physicians have stopped using all-metal devices due to concerns about the metal parts of the artificial joint rubbing together and releasing small particles of metal into a patient’s body.
Several studies, including one performed by the UK National Joint Registry, revealed that these tiny metal components could move throughout a person’s body, damaging muscles, organs, and tissue. Thousands of patients have been forced to undergo revision surgery, which involves removing the all-metal hip and replacing it with an implant made of a combination of plastic and metal. According to the Cleveland Clinic, artificial hip revision surgery can lead to complications that include infection, injury to nerves and blood vessels, fracture, weakness, blood clots, pain, stiffness and instability in the joint, and additional surgery.