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A product liability lawsuit alleges that the Stryker Accolade hip stem and LFit V40 femoral head hip implant components were defectively designed and manufactured, resulting in a high failure rate that ultimately led to a recall for the product line, and revision surgery after the plaintiff’s implants failed.
Donald Ray Lovell filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on August 17, naming Howmedica Osteonics, which does business as Stryker Orthopaedics, as the defendant.
Lovell indicates that a Stryker Accolade TMZF Hip Stem and LFIT Anatomic CoCR V40 femoral head were used during a hip replacement in March 2014. However, the lawsuit indicates that the hip components were unreasonably dangerous and in a defective state when the manufacturer placed them into the stream of commerce.
Following the Stryker Accolade and LFit hip components were implanted, Lovell indicates that he began to experience pain and discomfort. Doctors determined that Lovell had elevated levels of serum cobalt, chromium and titanium in his blood, which were indications that he was suffering from blood metal poisoning due to debris being shed by the hip implants.
As a result of the hip component failure, Lovell had to undergo revision surgery to have the implants removed, and during the procedure it was discovered that the device had caused “gross deformation” of the artificial hip, together with severe and permanent tissue and muscle damage.
Lovell’s lawsuit points out that Stryker had claimed that the Accolade TMZF stem was resistant to the effects of corrosion and fretting, which has plagued other metal-on-metal hip replacement systems for years.
“For decades, scientists have reported the occurrence of accelerated fretting and corrosion issues when dissimilar metals are combined,” the lawsuit notes. “In their marketing and sale of the device, Defendants represented and warranted that proprietary materials alleviate concerns for this problem.”
After receiving similar reports involving hip component failures, a Stryker LFit v40 hip recall was issued by the manufacturer last summer, impacting certain large-diameter femoral heads sold before 2011. At that time, Stryker acknowledged that a higher-then-expected number of individuals were experiencing problems with trunnion failure, metal wear, adverse tissue reactions and other complications.
The case filed by Lovell joins a growing number of other hip replacement lawsuits filed in recent months by individuals have suffered complications that resulted in revision surgery only a few years after receiving the implant. In particular, complications with the Stryker Accolade stem in combination with the LFit V40 femoral head have resulted in reports of excessive metallic debris, limited range of motion, disassociation, fractures and failed hip replacements.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established coordinated pretrial proceedings earlier this year for all lawsuits involving use of the Stryker LFit v40 head, centralizing the cases before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in the District of Massachusetts.