Wright Medical Technology Inc. is facing a growing number of claims related to two of its hip replacement products. The CONSERVE Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System features a metal-on-metal ball and socket. The other is the Profemur Z hip stem, which is a modular metal product. It is estimated that about 10,000 of these hip replacement products have been implanted in patients since 2003.
Similar to other alleged defective metal-on-metal hip implant devices, patients have experienced complications, and many have had to undergo hip revision surgery. According to the UK National Joint Registry, the revision rate for the Wright CONSERVE hip was 8.35 percent after five years.
The Wright CONSERVE hip is comparable to the recalled DePuy ASR model in that it was designed to have a shallow acetabular cup. This design can lead to a loss of fluid between the femoral head and the acetabular cup, leading to an increase in friction and heat within the implant. This friction can cause the implant to wear down, which can release both cobalt and chromium metal ions into the blood.
The release and subsequent buildup of cobalt and chromium in the blood can lead to a condition known as metallosis, or metal poisoning. While the full extent of conditions that metallosis can cause are still not entirely known, case studies have identified vertigo, optic nerve damage, blindness, deafness and peripheral neuropathy as potentially associated complications.
The Profemur Z hip stem has been the focus of increasing concern as evidence points to an underreported failure rate. Complications can include corrosion near the neck, which is the point at which the stem connects to the ball component of the implant. This corrosive reaction can release metal ions into the blood and, if left untreated, can result in metal poisoning. There have also been reports of the stem essentially snapping, resulting in invasive, emergency revision surgery to replace the implant.
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