Defective Products

Smith & Nephew Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants


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Defective Smith & Nephew Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Products

Medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew continually faces lawsuits for distributing faulty medical devices, and in recent years several of their metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants have been no exception.

If you received a specific type of Smith & Nephew metal-on-metal hip implant (see below), you may be entitled to substantial legal compensation from hip implant recalls.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Background

Metal-on-metal hip replacements were created and have been long promoted as a stronger and more lasting option to hip joint repair. Hip replacement surgeries are very invasive processes for patients, so the products need to be high quality and long lasting to prevent need for revision surgery. In a total hip replacement surgery, the femoral head—located on top of the thigh bone—is completely removed and replaced with a man-made femoral head. In hip resurfacing surgeries, after trimming the femoral head the surgeon covers the femoral head with a metal cap. However, current studies show that metal-on-metal hip implants create more risks than benefits when compared to other types of hip replacement systems due to the constant complications associated with them.

What Went Wrong?

While metal-on-metal hip replacement systems were created to provide support and reduce natural wear and tear, design defects in several models of Smith & Nephew’s devices produced extremely concerning complications for both resurfacing and replacement patients. 

Recent studies reveal that the friction between the metal parts can wear and flake, releasing dangerously toxic metal ions into the bloodstream and throughout the body. These metal particles can create incredibly painful complications, the most common being metallosis, a type of metal poisoning

Symptoms of Metallosis: 

Implant loosening
Nerve problems
Cognitive impairment
Visual impairment that may lead to blindness 
Noise coming from the hip
Auditory impairment that may lead to deafness
Depression, anxiety, and other mental issues
Thyroid problems
Skin rashes
Heart problems including heart failure

Recalled Hip Implant Systems

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) Hip Implant System

The Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) hip implant system (approved in 2006), is commonly used by surgeons who want to preserve the patient’s femoral head. However, the BHR system has been found to create problems in patients who do not meet a very limited list of qualifications.

In Smith & Nephew’s 2015 BHR recall, officials issued a safety notice stating that patients over 65 and patients that required an implant head 48 mm or smaller experienced an increased risk of needing revision surgery. The also stated that the BHR implants created a risk for fractures, dislocation, and an assortment of other complications that could lead to revision surgery.

But the safety notice didn’t stop at that release. Shortly later, they released yet another notice advising surgeons to not implant the BHR in female patients and to not use BHR femoral head components less than 46 mm in size. According to sources, the BHR has a 26% failure rate in women after ten years. Additionally, patients who experienced injuries from a faulty BHR complained of severe and persistent pain.

R3 Acetabular System

In 2012 Smith & Nephew instigated a worldwide recall for the R3 Acetabular System, a metal liner used in nearly 4,000 patients in the U.S. in 2009. The R3 Acetabular System, a modular hip implant system, is composed of several individual components for surgeons to select from based on what the patient needs: a femoral stem, femoral head, liner, and acetabular cup. 

Reports showed that patients experienced a number of complications including pain, loosening, device failure, infection, metal sensitivity, and dislocation. While the implant was highly marketed as a sturdy, long-lasting product, the numerous complaints instigated the recall 3 short years after its release in the United States.

Modular Redapt Femoral and Modular SMF

Smith & Nephew released the Modular SMF Hip System in 2008 and was followed by the Modular Redapt Femoral System in 2012. However, they were both recalled at the same time in a Class II recall in November of 2016.

The FDA recall notes that the pull stemmed from “a higher than anticipated complaint and adverse event trend.” Complaints linked to these two systems correlate with those of the R3 and BHR, including high levels of metal particles in patients’ bloodstreams. 

Complications Associated with Failed Smith & Nephew Metal-on-Metal Hip Products: 

Sudden dislocation
Metal toxicity
Hip failure
Device wearing down quickly
Loosening and premature failure of artificial hip
Need for a risky and invasive replacement/revision surgery

Recalled Hip Implant Lawsuits

Lawsuits for several versions of the UK company’s MoM hip implants have steadily resurfaced as more complications arise in hip replacement patients. The numbers support this with about 6,000 hip implants being recalled by Smith & Nephew. 

Patients filing product liability lawsuits against Smith & Nephew accuse the company of failing to warn about the possibility of product failures and revision surgeries. Further, they assert the company failed to thoroughly research the design, which could have saved thousands of patients from injury. 

History does not favor Smith & Nephew’s reputation; in 2007 they were found guilty of illegally paying doctors to use their implants on patients. For their crime, Smith & Nephew paid the U.S. Department of justice $28.9 million dollars and underwent 18 months of federal monitoring. 

MDL for BHR Lawsuits

Over 500 lawsuits over Smith & Nephew’s BHR hip implants are currently pending in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). The MDL, located in a Maryland federal court, was created in 2017 when the first 28 cases were combined by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The decision was spurred by the potential for hundreds of more lawsuits to come from the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing hip implant recall.

Act Now: Contact AVA Law Today!

Thousands of people continue to be injured as a result of not knowing their hip implant is the root cause of their injuries. If you received a hip implant and have concerning health problems associated with that implant, contact AVA Law Group, Inc. today. 

Our representatives will walk you through a series of guided questions to assess whether or not you qualify for legal compensation and will stand by you through every step of the process. No confusion, no hassle---we are here to serve you! Sign up for your free case evaluation now.

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