Smith & Nephew is the world’s fourth-largest producer of orthopedic reconstruction products. This multinational medical equipment manufacturer based in London, England sells their products in over 90 countries—including the United States. Their product catalog includes the now-recalled Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) and R3 Hip Replacement systems. As a result of malfunctions in both devices, many patients who have received these defective surgical implants have needed dangerous, painful, and costly revision surgery to correct the damage done.

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System

The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. This “Pure” resurfacing hip surgery, metal-on-metal hip replacement system, was designed to relieve joint pain and improve hip function for patients using:

  • A femoral resurfacing component in the form of a ball-headed cap—attached to the top of the thigh bone (femur) with cement
  • An acetabular component in the form of a shallow, cup-shaped socket—designed to replace the damaged surface of the hip socket

Unlike other total hip replacement systems, the “Pure” BHR system resurfaced the femur with a metal component—rather than replacing a stem. In addition, the BHR cup has also been used for in more-traditional hip replacements using a femoral stem—typically a Synergy or Anthology stem. BHR components were designed as a modular system—providing doctors with a range of parts to fit together. This allowed them to create the right system for individual patient needs.

Smith & Nephew’s “Pure” Birmingham Hip Resurfacing and BHR Total Hip Implant Systems both used dangerous, defective materials that proved ineffective and harmful to patients. After years of higher-than-expected failure rates and an abnormal number of cases requiring revision surgery, the manufacturer finally recalled the BHR System product in September 2015.

R3 Acetabular Total Hip Replacement System

Smith & Nephew’s R3 Acetabular Total Hip Replacement System employs a femoral head and cup featuring a metal liner between the two. Unlike the “Pure” Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, the R3 Total Hip Replacement System uses a femoral stem implanted into the femur.

Known problems with both the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing and R3 Acetabular Total Hip Replacement Systems stem from the metal-on-metal design of both products. Metal surfaces of individual components in both products rub against each other during normal use—leading to metal erosion. This erosion released metal particles—including Cobalt and Chromium—into the patient’s bloodstream and surrounding tissue. These particles cause tissue and bone damage around the implant, with complications that include loosening of the joint and other failures.

To make matters worse, an elevated concentration of chromium and cobalt in the bloodstream can lead to metallosis. This medical condition has many severe side effects, including:

  • Severe hip and leg pain
  • Tissue and bone damage
  • Reduced joint mobility
  • Pseudotumors in the area

Smith & Nephew issued a recall of the metal liner used in the R3 Acetabular Total Hip Replacement System in June 2012. Like the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, the R3 System failed at a higher-than-normal rate—forcing hundreds of patients to undergo revision surgery. After the recall, Smith & Nephew issued what was supposed to be a precautionary “hazard alert” to those doctors who had prescribed this system to their patients.

The True Cost

When patients must undergo painful and costly revision surgery following the implant of a faulty medical device, the corporations responsible for manufacturing and marketing these defective products must be held accountable. If you have been injured due to a defective Smith & Nephew hip implant device, time may be running out to file a claim for damages.

Yost Can Help You Find Answers

If you or a loved one has suffered from harmful side effects or required painful revision surgery after resurfacing hip surgery or a metal on metal hip implant, the Yost Legal Group can help you file a claim seeking the justice you deserve.

Free consultation: Call 1-800-YOST LAW or complete the contact form below to learn more about how we can help.

Call the Yost Legal Group today and speak to a Defective Hip Lawyer for a free initial consultation about your case at 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529). We will review every detail of your situation at no cost to you and help provide answers you seek.

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