Enormous Market for Hip Implants Continues to Grow
Americans are living longer than ever. And as the most populous generation in our history enters the final third of life, baby boomers are increasingly finding that their joints simply do not last as long as they do. Instability and deterioration of the joints may be the result of disease, aging, injury or lifestyle.
Partial and total hip replacement surgeries have become common. This year, nearly 400,000 hip replacement procedures will be performed. Meanwhile, major manufacturers of hip implant devices and technologies have introduced an array of products of varying degrees of safety. One recent market survey of the worldwide hip and knee orthopedic replacement industry suggested that it could reach a total value of more than $33 billion by 2022.
Below are some of the main players and market leaders in joint replacement technology:
Johnson & Johnson / DePuy
Smith & Nephew
B. Braun / Aesculap
Shenzhen Advanced Institute Spinal Surgical Robot
Waldemar LINK GmbH & Co.
Wright Medical Technology
Hip Implant Lawsuits
Many of these manufacturers have been the subjected of mass litigation over faulty technology and misleading marketing. Johnson & Johnson/Depuy, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Zimmer, and Wright, to name a few, have manufactured so-called metal-on-metal hip implant systems which have proved to be the most problematic of the implant devices on the market today.
Metal-on-metal implant systems substitute a metal ball and socket for the natural hip joint. It was originally thought that these systems were superior to alternatives made from other materials because of metal’s durability. Over the past decade, however, hundreds of lawsuits by recipients of MoM hip implants have revealed the opposite may be true.
These implants have allegedly had dire health consequences as a result of manufacturing flaws or material degeneration, leading to metal poisoning (or metallosis). Worse, once a recipient has been identified as having metallosis or other complications due to a metal-on-metal implant, they must undergo painful revision surgery to first remove the faulty implant and then replace it with a new one.
Zimmer M/L Taper Hip with Kinectiv
Most recently, Zimmer’s M/L taper hip with Kinectiv and Versys head has been the subject of product liability and personal injury litigation. Like similar hip implant systems from Wright, Johnson & Johnson, and Stryker, the Zimmer system has allegedly caused metallosis in some patients. So far, more than twenty lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer.
According to experts, more than one hundred thousand Zimmer hip replacements have found their way into patients around the country. This summer, a group of plaintiffs requested that their cases be aggregated in what is known as Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which streamlines the litigation process.
Since the lawsuits against Zimmer are only beginning, we expect to see many more in the near future, as patients not only discover they may have suffered grievous injury as a result of the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip, but also that they may seek compensation for their suffering.