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Stryker Hip Replacement Lawsuit Filed Over ABG II Modular Stem

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Although dozens of Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits have been filed over the past six months on behalf of individuals who experienced problems with the recalled modular femoral stem, one of the first federal lawsuits was just filed over the Stryker ABG II Modular Hip Stem, which was removed from the market at the same time.

A recall was issued for both the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular hip components in July 2012, after data suggested that the implants were prone to corrode or fret at the modular junction, increasing the risk of inflammation, loosening and failure of the artificial hip within a few years.

Unlike traditional hip replacements, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II are modular, featuring two metal pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length based on the patient. However, the design has been linked to an increased risk of problems that may result from the release of microscopic metal fragments as the chromium-cobalt neck rubs against the titanium femoral stem.

Since the recall, more than 100 Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts throughout the country, alleging that Howmedica and their Stryker subsidiaries designed and sold a defective and unreasonably dangerous system.  Complaints also allege that the manufacturer failed to warn patients or the medical community about the potential risk of problems with Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacements.

However, what is believed to be the first Stryker ABG II hip lawsuit was just filed on March 26, indicating that Lisa Lincoln experienced problems after receiving the implant in her right hip in June 2010. The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Howmedica Osteonics Corp., which does business under the Stryker Orthopaedics label.

According to allegations raised in the Stryker hip replacement lawsuit, Lincoln began suffering pain and discomfort less than two years after receiving the Stryker ABG II modular stem. She was ultimately told that she had developed a pseudotumor and an adverse tissue reaction, leading her doctor to recommend that the acetabular cup be removed and replaced. Later testing found fluid collection around the artificial hip and high levels of cobalt in Lincoln’s blood, resulting in a diagnosis of metallosis, a form of blood poisoning.

First Stryker ABG II Hip Lawsuit

In the federal court system, a motion has been filed to centralize all lawsuits over the Stryker hip replacements as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. Plaintiffs have indicated that all complaints involving both the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II components should be centralized together, as they involve substantially similar designs and were recalled at the same time as a result of the similar problems.

Last month, Howmedica filed a response with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation indicating that it agreed that consolidation was appropriate for all Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits, but indicated that it opposes the inclusion of Stryker ABG II lawsuits.

The medical device maker indicated that out of about 40 lawsuits identified in the federal court system, none of the complaints pending at that time involved allegations of Stryker ABG II Modular hip problems causing a plaintiff’s injury.

Oral arguments over the scope of the proposed Stryker hip replacement MDL are expected to be heard at an upcoming hearing session of the U.S. JPML in Chicago on May 30, 2013.

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