According to the American College of Rheumatology, surgeons perform over 450,000 hip replacements each year in the U.S. Generally considered safe and reliable, they provide patients suffering from pain, inflammation, and decreased mobility the opportunity to be active once again. Many activities that were difficult, painful, and even impossible for people can become manageable and enjoyable. But for patients with failed or defective artificial hips, what should have been a positive, life-changing experience can quickly become a nightmare.
There have been multiple causes of failed hip implants, including defective design, manufacturing, or packaging, and even changes to devices without FDA approval. Failed artificial hips often require patients to undergo complex and painful revision surgery that takes longer to recover from than the initial surgery. In many cases, defective hip replacements have failed after just a couple of years rather than lasting at least 10 to 20 years, if not longer.
A faulty hip implant may cause both short- and long-term health problems. Nerve and tissue damage, long recovery times, infections, metal poisoning, and bone fractures are some of the injuries patients have experienced from a failed or defective hip replacement. A less common but even more serious injury is permanent neurological problems.
Unfortunately, the reason behind many of these failed devices has been directly linked to the negligence of product manufacturers. As a result, numerous patients have filed hip implant lawsuits to recover compensation for a wide range of damages, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and a decreased quality of life.
While thousands of hip replacement lawsuits against device manufacturers have settled or resulted in jury awards, many cases are ongoing, and new lawsuits will be filed in 2024. Collectively, manufacturers have paid billions of dollars to patients with failed devices, and many cases settled during multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Companies Facing Failed and Defective Hip Implant Lawsuits
Tens of thousands of people in the U.S. have had a hip implant fail over the last 20 years. These patients have been affected by faulty or defective hip replacement systems made by several different companies. And yet, there are common injuries and causes of failure, alongside numerous FDA recalls of hip implants. Devices have corroded, fractured, and fretted, in many cases, just years after the initial surgery. Patients have held product manufacturers accountable through artificial hips lawsuits and been well compensated for their suffering.
The following list of companies have either recently faced or are still facing product liability lawsuits for defective and faulty hip implants. Other device manufacturers that have settled hip implant lawsuits not noted below include Zimmer Biomet and Smith and Nephew.
Wright Medical & MicroPort Orthopedics
While thousands of Profemur hip implant lawsuits, including multiple MDLs, have been closed for years after reaching resolutions, lawsuits are still pending, and more are being filed. The once-innovative modular neck stem part of the Profemur hip implant began snapping as early as 2005, yet it wasn’t recalled until 2020. This came too late for many patients, with thousands of Profemur complications reported to the FDA.
Between 2016 and 2017, Profemur artificial hips lawsuits against Wright Medical (original manufacturer) and MicroPort (current manufacturer) settled for a combined total of $330 million. Since then, other cases have settled for undisclosed amounts.
Profemur hip implant lawsuits allege severe pain, lack of mobility, significant swelling, nerve damage, and even neurological problems from metal poisoning. The company no longer markets or sells the dual modular necks in the U.S., but the extent of damage is obvious, and lawsuits show it’s still growing.
Synovo Production, Inc
On January 3, 2024, the FDA issued a Safety Communication regarding the Synovo Total Hip System. They warned healthcare providers and patients who received the Total Hip Replacement System after 2019 that the safety of the implant has not been established. The warning resulted from what was discovered during an investigation by the FDA – the Synovo Femoral Resurfacing Cup, Acetabular Fixation Cup, and Acetabular Bearing had been “significantly modified” from what had been approved. These changes indicated they may be prone to failure and cause injuries to patients with affected Synovo hip implants, and ultimately, require revision surgery.
Symptoms of a failed or failing Synovo Total Hip System include new or worsening pain, weakness on the side of the implant, an inability to bear weight or walk, grinding noise, and/or loosening. Since the Synovo Total Hip FDA warning applies to devices manufactured after 2019, Synovo hip replacement lawsuits are being filed, and based on faulty device trends, they may continue to be filed for years. Anyone who has suffered or required revision surgery for a failed Synovo hip implant should speak with a defective medical device lawyer to discuss their case and possible compensation.
Due to packaging defects, multiple knee, ankle, and hip joint replacement products by Exactech began being recalled in 2021, and Exactech product liability lawsuits have followed. For their hip implants, the Connexion GXL liner was discovered to have a product defect that was causing early device failure due to degradation, with many plaintiffs experiencing severe osteolysis or bone degradation. The defect resulted from packaging issues; they were packaged without a key oxygen barrier layer, which puts the devices at risk of early failure. The FDA issued a Safety Communication in March 2023 about the risks with Exactech joint replacement devices and the affected joint systems date back to as early as 2004.
So far, many Exactech hip replacement lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs who required painful revision surgery and suffered long, debilitating recoveries. The ongoing Exactech lawsuits allege failure to warn and negligence, and product liability lawyers are still accepting new plaintiffs.
DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has faced years of lawsuits for multiple joint replacement systems. Failed ASR hip implants resulted in a large-scale MDL that settled around 8,000 cases for approximately $2.5 billion in 2013. Records indicated that at least 12% of patients who received an ASR hip system required surgery due to device failure. In 2016, another high-value victory was for six patients who sued DePuy for faulty metal-on-metal hip implants. The court ordered the manufacturer to pay $1 billion for these cases.
Thousands more lawsuits were filed just a few years later, this time for DePuy Pinnacle hip systems. The Pinnacle MDL led to a $1 billion settlement for 6,000 plaintiffs in 2019. In 2023, Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of DePuy, was sanctioned by a federal court for attempting to delay a Pinnacle hip implant lawsuit.
As of January 2024, hundreds of Depuy artificial hips lawsuits were still pending in multidistrict litigation, this time in Ohio, and new plaintiffs may still come forward before it’s resolved. Other lawsuits against the company have involved its AML, Prodigy, S-ROM, and Marathon products.
Since 2014, thousands of Stryker hip implant lawsuits have been settled, and the manufacturer agreed to pay around $2 billion to plaintiffs in this first round of cases. The products and components plaintiffs alleged were defective through artificial hips lawsuits include Rejuvenate, ABG II, and LFIT V40. Many models of these Stryker hip replacement systems were recalled. However, current and past lawsuits have alleged there are other faulty or defective products or components manufactured by the company.
In general, settlement offers through multiple Stryker MDLs have been largely accepted by plaintiffs. However, many rejected what was offered and decided to pursue individual lawsuits.