Zimmer M/L Taper and Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology
Every year, approximately 500,000 people undergo hip replacement surgery. While these hip replacement devices are supposed to last for decades, unfortunately, defectively designed components with problematic metal-on-metal articulation can result in metallosis requiring early removal (revision) surgery. Defective hip implants that do not work correctly can cause dangerous side effects to patients. These harmful side effects have led to implant device recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Minnesota Hip Replacement Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw are currently investigating cases where an individual requires a revision surgery after a hip replacement. Contact us today for a free defective hip replacement lawsuit consolation. We have successfully resolved hundreds of defective hip replacement cases and have the expertise to guide you through the complicated legal process.
Case Quick Facts
What is a Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Device?
Zimmer M/L Taper and the Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology hip implants are designed to “precisely match a wide range of male and female anatomies without compromise” through several components. The neck piece and femoral stem are inserted into the patient’s femur bone. The neck piece is then connected to an artificial head, which is usually the Zimmer VerSys head. However, the connection point between these pieces can cause complications since the parts are made of metal.
Studies have connected the Zimmer M/L Taper and Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology hip devices to causing dangerous metal poisoning and other severe complications. The potential for metal-on-metal wear causing complications has been known since the 1990s; however, manufacturers including Zimmer have continued to produce the product and claim that the products are safe.
The titanium metal alloy of the Zimmer hip taper portion of the implant and the cobalt-chromium metal alloy of the VerSys head portion of the implant moving against each other can result in corrosion and the leaching of the metal particles into the surrounding tissues. This can lead to medical complications, such as:
- Metallosis (metal blood poisoning)
- Aseptic lymphocyte-dominated Vasculitis-associated Lesions (adverse local tissue reactions)
- Trunnionosis (wear and tear of the femoral head/neck interface components of the implant)
- Loss of bone tissue (osteolysis)
- Localized hip-area pseudotumors (false tumors that are created by fleshy growths of tissue that surround the implant)
- Other corrosion-related complications requiring revision surgery
Regarding revision surgeries, in 2013, the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Registry determined that Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology devices resulted in revision rates that were more than twice the revision rates of conventional hips.
What is Metallosis?
Metal particles are released into the bloodstream as metal-on-metal friction (the pieces of the implant grinding together) occurs, which causes metal poisoning known as metallosis. As the metal particles spread throughout the body, they can cause serious complications including bone degeneration and damage to the nervous system. Patients are at an increased risk of metallosis the longer the implant has been in use.
The breakdown of bone tissues due to metallosis increases the patient’s risk of fractures. These fractures can result in the device becoming dislocated. This dislocation can make the implantation of a replacement device during a revision surgery more difficult. The risk of fracture is even higher for post-menopausal women. The fractures can affect a patient’s mobility for the rest of their lives.
Metallosis can cause:
- Elevated temperatures
- Gray discoloration around hip implant area
- Damage to central nervous system
How GoldenbergLaw Can Help
The Metal on Metal Hip Replacement Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw have been holding negligent device manufacturers accountable for over 30 years. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact us today for a free hip replacement lawsuit evaluation. Leave the sleepless nights to us.
FDA Recall of Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Devices
Zimmer introduced the M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology into the U.S. Market in 2007. On May 18, 2015, the FDA released a Class 1 recall announcing that Zimmer had found a higher than expected amount of manufacturing residue on the products. The Class 1 recall is the most urgent recall and means that “there is a reasonable probability that use of these products can cause serious adverse medical consequences or death.” It was discovered that the residue can cause “serious adverse health issues including allergic reactions, pain, infections, or death. Use of these products may require the need for a revision surgery to replace the affected implant.” The recall was due to metal femoral stems and modular necks that caused “higher than allowed cytotoxicity levels” found within the product. The recall affected specific lot numbers of the product. Zimmer claimed to have cured the issue and then continued to sell the product after resolution of the recall.
Zimmer M/L Taper Litigation
In February 2010, Michael Brian McDonald–an Albuquerque economist then in his sixties–was suffering from right hip pain. In June 2010, he received medical device manufacturer Zimmer’s modular hip implant (the M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Kinectiv Technology- MLTK) with a cobalt-chromium head. However, by May 2011, Mr. McDonald was suffering from hip pain, groin pain, and loss of flexibility. This resulted in two revision surgeries where doctors implanted two new protheses, and replaced the cobalt-chromium Zimmer M/L Taper heat with a ceramic head. However, soon his symptoms returned. Mr. McDonald was then diagnosed with adverse reactions to the metal debris that had been shed by the Zimmer hip implant and resulted in his bloodstream becoming inundated with high levels of cobalt metal. This condition is known as “metallosis”–a buildup of cobalt debris that harms the hip joint in addition to contaminating the blood.
Mr. McDonald sued Zimmer and the case was presented at a bench trial before Judge Nash in December 2016 in the Second Judicial Court in Albuquerque. In March 2017, a jury found that Zimmer was liable for manufacturing and selling an unreasonable device that likely caused permanent harm to the plaintiff. Zimmer was ordered to pay $2 million to the plaintiff. Judge Nash said that “it is never appropriate to design a hip implant that would create an unreasonable risk of injury to the health of a patient. In designing the MLTK, Defendants knew that the use of dissimilar metals can result in a higher potential corrosion and that wear debris from a junction of two dissimilar metals had been documented to be toxic and harmful to the human body.”
Zimmer M/L Taper Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Update
The Zimmer lawsuits involving the M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis, the M/L Taper Prosthesis with Kinectiv Technology and the VerSys Hip System Femoral Head were combined into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in October 2018. The MDL is headquartered in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Paul A. Crotty.
When Will the Trial Start?
Currently, the MDL is in the discovery phase. The first trial in the Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology multidistrict litigation (MDL) is currently scheduled for September 2021.