Stryker redux

Unlike the makers of the dangerous and controversial all-metal hip devices Stryker managed to remain largely unscathed – until 2012. As Johnson & Johnson became the focus of thousands of lawsuits regarding its ASR implant many patients had turned to Stryker, whose implants weren’t metal on metal.

Two of their hip implants the Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems were seen as an alternative to the metal on metal implants that had begun to fail at alarming rates. The two Stryker implants were released in 2009 and despite initial success, complaints were soon being made by many of the thousands of patients who had the products implanted. By 2012 the company recalled both products.

The ABG II and Rejuvenate hip components were recalled by Stryker after they admitted that the artificial hips were subject to fret, corrode, loosen and ultimately fail, resulting in revision surgery to remove the defective hip implant. Both the Stryker ABG II and Rejuvenate hips contain modular stems, with two pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length based on the patient. The metal components were found to be vulnerable to fretting and corrosion causing the components to grind against each other and release metallic debris inside the body. Patients who experience this phenomenon – metallosis – may develop pain, swelling, and adverse local tissue reactions due to the metal ions shed from the devices. Stryker has advised all recipients of Rejuvenate or ABG II stems to undergo medical screening regardless of symptoms to ensure their hip components are working properly.
Now, some doctors have predicted the failure rate for the Rejuvenate and ABGII hip replacement systems might go as high as 70 percent. Artificial hip revisions are painful and patients receiving replacement prosthetics often have issues with bone loss and fit. The promise of a better quality of life is greatly diminished because revised artificial hips rarely perform as well as the first prosthetic.

In the wake of this catastrophic failure and the subsequent recall of the Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems over 2000 lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey, at least 1700 in Minnesota, and more lawsuits in Florida, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Oregon

Worldwide more than 30,000 of the Stryker hip systems have been installed with 20,000 of them in U.S. patients. I have no doubt that the failure of this artificial hip joint will lead to thousands more painful revisions and, as a result, the number of claims against Stryker will continue to increase dramatically.

If you have a Stryker implant we would be happy to review your situation and see if we can help you.

Stryker’s negligence in the design of these products suggests to me that profit, not patient’s safety, was their biggest concern. They offered the Rejuvenate and ABG II with promise of a better quality of life. With the failure these implants Stryker has not only shattered that promise, but also more often than not – made the patient’s quality of life worse.