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Hip implants are more complicated today than they were a decade ago.

Used to be that there were minimal components—most systems were comprised of an acetabular cup (the “ball” that fits into the hip socket), the liner (that goes over the cup), and the stem (the part that fits into the thigh bone).

Hip implant manufacturers later determined, however, that by creating more components, they could provide a more customized fit for a variety of patients. Today, most systems contain more components that surgeons can mix and match, depending on the height, weight, and unique needs of any particular patient.

The idea made sense, but it also meant that when something went wrong with the implant, it could take a little detective work to figure out which component was causing the problem.

The Stryker Corporation, a leading manufacturer of hip implant systems, recently issued an urgent medical device recall notification related to one of their components: the Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral head. This is the part that fits inside the cup to allow the hip to rotate, and is then attached to the stem, which goes into the thighbone. It’s used in a number of hip implant systems, including the Accolade TMZF and the Accolade 2, as well as with the Citation and Meridian femoral stems.

The recall applies to those femoral head components manufactured before 2011.

Stryker V40 Can Weaken and Break

Since the recall applies only to older femoral heads, most of the defective components that are already implanted in patients. Stryker sent out the notification because they had received a higher than expected number of complaints of “taper lock failure” associated with certain lots of these components.

The “taper lock” is the part of the component that connects the femoral head to the femoral neck. It’s believed that the connection can weaken due to corrosion at the head-neck juncture, In some cases, this part of the component can weaken or break completely, which can cause catastrophic hip implant failure.

Patients can also suffer other serious problems including loss of mobility, dislocation, pain, metallosis (metal poisoning), broken bones, and joint instability. Most all of these problems require revision surgery.

Stryker warned doctors of the risks, and suggested they quarantine and return any unused components pending to Stryker.

Stryker LFIT V40 Lawsuits Expected to Increase

As a result of this new information, in addition to subsequent warnings from Health Canada and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, legal experts are expecting a potentially large number of new Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head lawsuits to be filed in courts around the country within the next several months. Some such cases were already filed in 2014, long before Stryker notified doctors of the potential problem.

In July, a new case was filed in the Southern District of New York, with the plaintiff alleging that the LFIT V40failed prematurely, causing her to suffer loss of mobility and other injuries.

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