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Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
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New Jersey Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Lawsuits Increasing

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In January 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court consolidated all Stryker hip lawsuits concerning the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stem implants into one court in Bergen County. They appointed Judge Brian Martinotti to oversee the proceedings.

Now, according to a recent court-released case list, that multi-county litigation (MCL) has increased to 81 lawsuits, with hundreds more expected to be filed over the next several months. This is in addition to the at least 30 Stryker hip lawsuits pending in federal courts, which may soon be consolidated as well, depending on the decision of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).

Stryker Hip Rejuvenate Lawsuits

The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stem implants are unique in their design, in that instead of a one-piece stem, they offer a number of options with a two-piece stem, intended to give orthopaedic surgeons more choices when fitting the unique anatomy of a patient.

The chrome cobalt modular neck, however, which is inserted into the titanium femoral stem, can cause fretting and corrosion with normal wear and tear. In April 2012, Stryker issued an urgent field safety notice to surgeons and hospitals in the United States warning that such fretting could lead to tissue death, small pockets of swelling, and metal poisoning.

In July 2012, Stryker issued a voluntary recall of both the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular stems, stopping worldwide sales of the products due to the potential for fretting and corrosion at the modular-neck junction, which the company stated could cause adverse local tissue reactions, pain, and swelling around the hip.

Plaintiffs Claim Stryker Hip Implant Defective

Plaintiffs who file Stryker hip lawsuits often complain of metal contamination, which can lead to premature loosening and the necessity for revision surgery. Illinois plaintiff Randall Crew, for example, who filed his case on February 11, 2013 in the Northern District of Illinois, received a Rejuvenate implant in November 2009. After about six months, Crew started to develop pain in the hip and groin area, and had to undergo revision surgery to have the implant removed and replaced in February 2011. He then required additional surgeries to remove necrotic tissue and part of the bone, which had allegedly been damaged by the fretting Stryker components.

Testing Required in Patients with Stryker Hip Implants

In January 2013, Stryker Orthopaedics sent a follow-up statement to physicians and patients warnign that regular testing for metal contamination is necessary, even in patients who have not experienced any adverse symptoms. The company noted that there have been reports in patients without symptoms who experienced high levels of metal ions in their blood, or adverse local tissue reactions.