Wright Conserve Hip Recall Should Have Been Issued in 2005: Lawsuit

According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit, Wright Medical Group should have issued a recall for their Conserve hip replacement system as early as 2005, amid reports that a number of users were experiencing serious problems with the implant, including early failure that may require additional revision surgery. 

A growing number of Wright Conserve hip lawsuits have been filed by individuals throughout the United States who experienced complications with the artificial hip system. In federal court, the cases are consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which is centralized in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

A lawsuit filed last month by Leon Thomas of Arkansas, raises allegations that a Wright Conserve hip recall should have been issued in 2005, when hundreds of complaints began being reported involving the artificial hip failing.

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Rather than recalling the Wright Conserve hip, Thomas indicates that the manufacturer continued to aggressively market the system, claiming that it was safe and effective.

According to the complaint, Thomas received a Wright Conserve Total Hip system in February 2006, after the manufacturer was aware of the problems. Approximately five years later, in early 2011, Thomas began experiencing severe pain in his left hip and groin areas.

Although the hip replacement was expected to last twenty years, Thomas ultimately required revision surgery in January 2012, which has left him with permanent injuries, including nerve damage and “foot drop.”

Similar to allegations raised in other complaints, Thomas indicates that the Wright Conserve hip’s metal “ball” and “socket” bearings generate metal debris over time, which can spread to the surrounding bone and tissue. As a result of the defective design, individuals who receive the Wright Conserve may suffer unnecessary pain and suffering, debilitating lack of mobility, inflammation causing damage or death to surrounding tissue and bone, metallosis and toxicity. In addition, the problems often result in more difficult revision surgery to replace the implant, causing additional pain and suffering, a prolonged recovery time and an increased risk of complications, according to the complaint.

Other metal-on-metal hip replacement systems have been associated with similar problems, including the DePuy ASR hip, DePuy Pinnacle hip and Biomet M2A-Magnum hip, along with other models.

In August 2010, a DePuy ASR hip recall was issued after the manufacturer acknowledged that the metal-on-metal hip system was associated with a higher-than-expected failure rate. However, a growing number of critics argue that all metal-on-metal hip systems should be removed from the market.

This summer, an FDA advisory panel will be reviewing the risks associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements and determine whether any regulatory steps should be taken to protect consumers from the risk of complications associated with the design.

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