Smith & Nephew Hip Litigation Approaches Settlement Agreement

After years of litigation, it appears that Smith & Nephew are getting close to reaching a settlement agreement for the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) and R3 Acetabular hip implant cases. The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system was recalled in September of 2015 due to complaints of pain, metallosis, fractures, dislocation, and premature system failure among patients. The R3 Acetabular metal liner was previously recalled in June of 2012 after high rates of failure and reports of injuries from the device.

The Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) is a type of metal-on-metal hip that uses a metal cup within the hip socket that connects to a metal ball capping the head of the femur. This was a popular choice for many because it required a less invasive surgery.

Metal-on-metal hips were marketed to younger, more active adults because of their claimed longevity. Unfortunately, these hips did the opposite of what was promised. Instead of the hips lasting 10 to 15 years, they failed in increasingly high rates.

Researchers discovered the 5-year failure rate for the metal-on-metal hip resurfacing to be 5%, quite a bit higher than the average of 2% for full hip replacements. This risk was even higher amongst women, with close to 9% failing at the five-year mark. The high failure rate of the implants has resulted in the need for revision surgery.

In addition to a high failure rate, the implants also caused a number of adverse effects in patients, including the development of pseudotumors near the implant. A pseudotumor is a buildup of fluid around the hip implant. It’s important to note that these are non-cancerous.  A pseudotumor can only be diagnosed through a MARS MRI. A MARS MRI allows your medical provider to view the soft tissue that surrounds the hip implant where pseudotumors are found.

Another issue associated with the defective implants is metallosis, a blood poisoning condition that occurs when toxic metal particles enter the bloodstream and nearby tissue. Metallosis is diagnosed through a blood test. The doctor will check the Cobalt and Chromium levels in the blood to determine if it is elevated.

Elevated Cobalt and Chromium levels can cause cognitive problems. Metallosis may also cause extreme hip and leg pain, or cause the implant to loosen, making grinding and clicking noises with movement. Unfortunately, the only way to treat metallosis is to have the metal hip implant removed.

The path to recovery following a hip revision surgery can be long. Common post-surgery difficulties for many include discomfort, pain, trouble with their gait, and a prolonged need for ambulatory assistance. The biggest issue following revision surgery is dislocation of the hip. Often the hip dislocates because the muscle, and tissue surrounding the bone have weakened. Another surgery may be necessary due to the extreme damage that the implant caused.

The Yost Legal Group is investigating claims for those who have been harmed by Smith & Nephew hip implants. If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing or R3 acetabular hip implant, the time to act is now. Call 1-800-YOST-LAW or email us at today for a FREE consultation. There is no fee unless we recover.