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Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hips under fire

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The Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip was one of the first metal-on-metal hip replacement systems on the market, and immediately safety issues were raised concerning premature hip implant failure.

Smith & Nephew Hip Failure Lawsuits

Metal on metal hip implants have a high failure rate including those manufactured by Biomet, DePuy, Encore, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Wright and Zimmer.

Wisconsin Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip failure

Steven Zingler, from Wisconsin filed a product liability lawsuit, against the Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System claiming that it was defectively designed and caused premature hip implant failure.

Zingler filed his personal injury lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. According to Zingler, he has experienced severe pain and failure complications with the Smith & Nephew hip resurfacing implant.

Zingler received a Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip in 2011, which included a 52mm Birmingham Resurfacing Femoral Head, and a 58mm Birmingham hip Resurfacing Acetabular Cup.

But, by January 2016, he had to undergo revision surgery to have it removed due premature hip failure.

Texas Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip failure

Linda Taylor, from Texas recently filed a product liability lawsuit, against the Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System claiming that it was defectively designed and caused premature implant failure.

Taylor filed her personal injury lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. According to Taylor, she has experienced severe pain and complications with the Smith & Nephew hip resurfacing implant, requiring the device to be removed after just eight years.

Taylor received a Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip in 2007, which included a 46mm Birmingham Resurfacing Femoral Head, and a 56mm Birmingham hip Resurfacing Acetabular Cup.

But, by 2015, she had to undergo revision surgery to have it removed due to pain in her right hip and premature hip failure.

What is Hip Resurfacing?

In a traditional total hip replacement the femoral head and acetabular hip socket are both removed and replaced. The femoral implant is placed down the shaft of the femur and a metallic head is connected to the metal femur, which then moves against the acetabular hip implant.

In hip resurfacing the femoral head is not removed but is instead trimmed and capped (resurfaced) with a smooth metal covering.

The damaged bone and cartilage within the acetabular hip socket is removed and replaced with a one piece metal shell which moves against the resurfaced head.

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology company, that markets, manufactures, and sells prosthetic hip devices for use in total hip arthroplasty and resurfacing arthroplasty.

These hip replacement products include the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, the devices are made of cobalt and chromium metal alloys, and are considered “metal-on-metal” hip implants.

Smith & Nephew failed to do adequate studies

The lawsuits note that the FDA approved the Birmingham hip in May 2006, requiring Smith & Nephew to meet several post-marketing surveillance and reporting requirements that were designed to ensure that in real-world use, the hip replacement system was shown it to be safe and effective.

According to Zingler and Taylor, the manufacturer has failed to do so, claiming that Smith & Nephew knew for years about reports of complications with Birmingham hip resurfacing, including revision surgeries and failures, yet failed to adequately inform the doctors or patients.

Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Failure Warnings

In 2012, Hong Kong issued a warning regarding Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip systems, indicating that they appeared to be linked to a higher-than-normal failure rate.

In 2014, Smith & Nephew issued a statement announcing it was recalling smaller size components and changing instructions for use of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system due to performance data.

The company warned that it had looked at data submitted to the National Joint Registry of England and Wales and found that “revision rates associated with men requiring femoral head sizes 46mm or smaller and with all women patients exceed the current benchmark established by the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).”

In 2015, Smith & Nephew announced the voluntary removal of the BHR device from the U.S. market due to unreasonably high failure rates for certain demographic groups, including all women, all men age 65 or older, and all men with requiring femoral head sizes 46 mm or smaller.

If you think you may have Smith & Nephew Birmingham Resurfacing devices and are experiencing pain caused by metal corrosion or have suffered premature hip failure requiring full revision and emergency care, please call us.

1 Comment

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  1. Jennifer Stolz says:
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    I had a BHR implanted in 2010, and had to have it revised to a THR in 2015 due to extremely high cobalt and chromium levels, skin rashes and pain.