If you have suffered problems associated with a Stryker ABGII or Rejuvenate, you may wonder whether you still have time in which to file a lawsuit against the company for damages. You may have extensive medical expenses associated with your recalled Stryker hip implant, could have lost significant amounts of work due to those medical issues and may have also experienced considerable pain and suffering. The recall was issued in July, 2012. The law limits the amount of time to file a claim, and this time limit is known as the statute of limitations. For residents of Texas as well as many others, that statute is two years for product liability claims. Other states have statutes of limitations as short as one year, or much longer at three, four, six and even ten years. Whatever your situation, speaking to a knowledgeable Stryker hip attorney will allow you to determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit against Stryker.
The Problems Associated With the Recalled Rejuvenate and ABGII
The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII garnered FDA approval in 2008 and 2009, yet just a few months after marketing began in earnest, the FDA started receiving adverse reports from both consumers who received one of the implants as well as from surgeons who removed the implant from their patients and found what appeared to be “black rust” on the device. Two months before the recall was issued, Stryker sent out an Urgent Field Safety Notification to hospitals and medical professionals, stating the propensity of the Rejuvenate and ABGII to experience fretting and corrosion at the neck/stem junction. This fretting and corrosion led to the release of metal ions into the body, hip failure and the necessity of revision surgery. Following the recall of the Rejuvenate and ABGII, more problems were found with the implants, many of which Stryker never mentioned in the field safety notification or at the time of the recall.
The Stryker neck piece has small metal trunnions, located at either end, which have been found to trap body fluids, leading to corrosion and the release of metal ions. Despite research warning against using mismatched metals in implants, Stryker paired a titanium stem with a cobalt and chromium neck piece, along with a Morse taper which could have resulted in cross-ionization between the titanium stem and the cobalt in the neck component. Rather than providing the “give” expected by the Stryker design team, the Morse taper may have created additional stress, leading to fraying and micro-motion. Because the Morse taper is not considered a “wear” joint, there should not have been the threat of excess ion debris release, yet it exists. Hip implants which have been removed during revision surgery, showed a much higher level of corrosion when mixed metals were used; it is not clear why Stryker chose to mix titanium, cobalt and chromium in their Rejuvenate and ABGII, particularly in light of research and studies which warned against using dissimilar metals.
Special Issues Associated With Rejuvenate and ABGII Revision Surgery
Most surgeons consider the removal of a recalled Stryker hip implant to be considerably more complicated than for other types of metal hip implants. At the time of the original surgery, the stem of the Rejuvenate, and, to a lesser degree, the ABGII, is placed deeply within the femur bone of the patient. Over time, the bone grows around the implant component, and when it must be removed, the surgeon is required to literally “dig” the stem away from the bone. In some cases the femur can shatter during the process, leaving the patient in a wheelchair until the surgeon is able to rebuild the bone and attempt to implant a different type of hip device. The surgical procedure associated with removing a recalled Stryker implant can take as long as five hours, exposing the patient to infection, nerve damage and excess bleeding. Recover time for those patients who must undergo revision surgery due to a recalled Stryker implant can be as long as six weeks, making it impossible for most patients to return to work. Finally, the mortality rate for revision surgery is as high as 2.5%, compared to about a 1% mortality rate for those undergoing their first hip implant surgery.
Metallosis and Metal Poisoning
When tiny metal ions shear away from the hip implant during fretting and corrosion, patients can end up with metallosis or metal poisoning. When the ions travel to the bloodstream, metal toxicity can occur, resulting in many adverse health symptoms such as neurological, renal, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular issues, loss of hearing and vision, vertigo, irritability, depression, anxiety, the development of pseudo-tumors, DNA disruption, reproductive disorders and short term memory loss. Ions which lodge in the hip tissues can result in chronic pain, deterioration of bone and tissue, inflammation, hip implant failure and the necessity for revision surgery.
Initially some research placed the risk of hip failure requiring revision for the ABGII and the Rejuvenate at about 12%, however following the recall, subsequent research placed the risk of failure anywhere from 30-65%. What these numbers mean for those who have a recalled Stryker implant is that the odds are not in their favor as far as their chances of developing health issues associated with their hip implant. If you are the recipient of a recalled Rejuvenate or ABGII, it is important that you speak with a skilled Stryker hip lawyer who can assess your case and clearly detail your options, assisting you in making a decision which will benefit you and your future.
Dr. Homer Stryker founded Stryker Orthopedics in 1941; today Stryker is a multi-billion dollar corporation which produces many medical and orthopedic products. Dr. Stryker, an orthopedic surgeon from Kalamazoo, Michigan, found that the existing medical products were not completely meeting his patient’s needs, so he took it upon himself to invent new ones. Stryker designed the Rejuvenate and ABGII with a goal of avoiding all the issues associated with metal-on-metal hip implants. The innovative design used a ceramic rather than a metal ball, and offered surgeons a wide variety of components for the hip implants in order to allow a customized fit.
Stryker claimed the Rejuvenate and ABGII hip implant devices would last as long as 15-20 years, and would be a great “fit” for younger, more active patients. Unfortunately, these claims failed to pan out, and reports of problems began soon after marketing began in earnest. Although Stryker has reportedly put over a billion dollars aside in order to help those harmed by a recalled Stryker implant, and despite the negative publicity associated with the recall, Stryker stock is at an all-time high. If you have suffered symptoms of metallosis or metal poisoning after receiving a Stryker recalled hip implant, it is important that you speak to a qualified Stryker hip lawyer who can assist you in determining the best course of action.
The Statute of Limitations and How it Can Affect Your Claim
If you file a product liability lawsuit in the United States, it is bound by what is known as the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the injured party may be barred from recovery. Statutes are intended to protect corporations from being exposed to lawsuits for extended periods of time, as well as to ensure lawsuits are filed while memories are clear and the evidence is preserved. Because the statute for Rejuvenate and ABGII lawsuits runs in July, 2014—barring any exceptional circumstances—potential claimants are urged to speak to a Sullo & Sullo Stryker hip attorney as soon as possible. Any painful side effects you have undergone as a result of a recalled Stryker hip implant must be thoroughly documented, and prompt legal action with the assistance of a Stryker hip lawyer undertaken.
How Sullo & Sullo Can Help With Your Stryker Claim
Due to the high rate of failure among recalled Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII patients, speaking to a Sullo & Sullo Stryker hip attorney can be your best course of action. Our attorneys have a broad range of experience in helping those harmed by a defective hip implant. We understand you are experiencing many emotions during this time as well as suffering financially due to your defective Stryker implant. The Sullo & Sullo Stryker hip attorneys believe we can thoroughly assess your individual circumstances and determine the best way to proceed. We will always act in your best interests and have your future uppermost in our minds when litigating your case.