A Michigan woman has filed a hip replacement lawsuit against Smith & Nephew, alleging that a component she received was defective and failed less than seven years after it was implanted.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Claudia Orr in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on August 2, alleging that a plastic liner on a Smith & Nephew hip replacement failed, resulting in the need for revision surgery.
In December 2004, Orr received a Smith & Nephew hip replacement that featured a metal cup design, with a Reflection Microstable Acetabular Cup Liner made out of polyethylene. The plastic liner coats the inside of the cup and prevents the cup from grinding against the metal femoral head. In this instance, according to the lawsuit, the lining failed.
Although the liner should have lasted 15 to 20 years, according to the lawsuit, Orr’s doctor discovered in March 2011 that the acetabular cup was loosening and the lining was wearing prematurely. The implant was removed on November 7, 2011, less than six and a half years after she first received the implant.
The revision surgery left Orr unable to walk without the assistance of a walker for three months and required her to use a cane for another one to two months. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience and has limited her physical activity. She has a permanent limp as well, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint charges Smith & Nephew with failure to warn, negligence, fraud, and breach of warranty.
Problems with Other Smith & Nephew Hip Liners
In June 2012, a Smith & Nephew hip recall was issued for a different type of metal liner, used with the company’s R3 Acetabular System, after a higher-than-acceptable number of patients experienced problems that resulted in the need for revision surgery.
Unlike the polyethylene hip liner used in Orr’s surgery, this is a metal liner that is used as part of metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. At the time of the recall, Smith & Nephew indicated that the recall was unrelated to the recent problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements, where microscopic shavings of metal are released into the body as the metal parts rub against each other. However, the manufacturer indicated that an analysis found that 1.6% of patients who received the liner underwent revision surgery each year.
The Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular System metal liner was introduced in 2007 and then globally launched in 2009. The company estimated that about 7,700 of the recalled liners had been implanted in patients before the problems were identified.