Following up on reports of broken hip components, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 mandated a recall of a certain hip-implant component: femoral heads made by the French manufacturer St. Gobain Desmarquest. Eight U.S. orthopedic companies, including Biomet, were using the defective components in their replacement hips at that time.
Recall Involves Zirconia Ceramic Femoral Heads
In 2001 St. Gobain Desmarquest recalled its zirconia ceramic femoral heads—a part included in several brands of hip implants—due to reports that the femoral heads were sometimes fracturing 13 to 27 months after implantation. This was an unacceptably high rate; replacement hips typically last 15 to 20 years or more.
In response to the femoral-head manufacturer’s recall, eight U.S. manufacturers that were using the faulty components in their hip replacement systems issued voluntary recalls of their unimplanted inventories of the femoral heads. In addition to Biomet, the companies halting sales of the components included Smith & Nephew, Apex Surgical, Encore Orthopedics, Osteoimplant Technology Inc., Stryker Orthopedics and DePuy Orthopedics.
Thousands of Hip Recipients Possibly Affected
St. Gobain Desmarquest’s zirconia ceramic femoral head had only been manufactured since 1998 and therefore were sold for only three years before being recalled. Furthermore, it was estimated that, at the time of the recall, only six percent of the 150,000 to 200,000 hip replacements performed in the United States each year used a zirconia ceramic femoral head. And of course, not all zirconia ceramic femoral heads are expected to prematurely fail.
However, the recall affected only unimplanted components, so it’s possible that patients received the defective part before it was pulled from the market.
Victims of Failed Hip Implants Often Need Revision Surgery
Among those receiving a faulty hip, it is commonly reported that the device makes a “pop” sound immediately before fracturing. Other symptoms include:
- Severe pain;
- Limited motion; and
- A grinding sensation.
If a patient’s doctor confirms that her implant has failed, revision surgery—or a second hip replacement surgery—likely will be required.
Speak to RLG About a Possible Biomet Hip Lawsuit
If you were implanted with a hip containing a Biomet femoral head after 1998 and the device failed, you might be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer through litigation. To find out whether you qualify for a lawsuit against Biomet, submit the details of your case using this online form, or call 1 (888) 976-8529.
The consultation is free. Even if we do wind up filing a lawsuit on your behalf, you will not have to pay us anything until you recover the money owed you by your hip implant’s manufacturer.