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Birmingham Metal-on-Metal Hip Problems Led To Need For Revision Surgery: Lawsuit

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A Minnesota man indicates that he is one of hundreds of victims in every state in the country who has suffered injuries due to Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system complications, according to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed against Smith & Nephew over problems with the metal-on-metal hip implant. 

Michael P. Tracy filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on March 28, indicating that the Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip implanted in his body was defective and carried a high risk of failure.

Tracy indicates that he underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA) on his right hip in February 2008, at which time surgeons used the Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system. However, in December 2017, he had to undergo revision surgery after the metal-on-metal hip implant failed, at which time the surgeon discovered that the failure of the implant led to the development of a “creamy reactive fluid around Tracy’s hip joint.

The Smith & Nephew BHR was one of the first metal-on-metal hip replacement systems on the market, and concerns were raised about its safety even before it was approved.

A competitor, Wright Medical, attempted to stop the devices from getting approved, filing a citizen’s petition with the FDA in 2006, asking the agency to reject the application for the BHR, due to concerns over the adequacy of the clinical trials used to obtain premarket approval.

Due to a high rate of problems following Birmingham hip resurfacing, Smith & Nephew subsequently withdrew the system from the marketing in the U.S. market and eventually issued a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing recall in September 2015.

“At the time of the initial implant procedure, neither Plaintiff nor his surgeon were aware of the myriad problems associated with the BHR when used in a THA operation,” Tracy’s lawsuit states. “In fact, Smith & Nephew continued to promote the THA total hip system as a safe alternative to other metal-on-metal hip devices despite the THA not being a safer alternative and not being approved for sale in the U.S.”

In May 2017, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all product liability lawsuits over Birmingham Hip Resurfacing be centralized before U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland.

As hip replacement lawyers continue to review and file cases for individuals nationwide, it is ultimately expected that hundreds of cases may be brought in the coming weeks and months.

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