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Following recent legal action against Zimmer Hips in the US, legal action is to take place in the UK, with the High Court in London setting a deadline of 30 October 2015 for patients who have suffered injury or illness following a hip operation using Zimmer Metasul Large Diameter Head and Durom Metal on Metal Hip replacements to come forward and claim for compensation.

The Zimmer Metasul Large Diameter Head and Durom Metal on Metal Hip replacements were supposedly to offer higher levels of mobility and durability to patients who received them, than other products available on the market. However, the Zimmer hip replacements suffered from failure rates as high as 9.45% after 7 years (in the UK).

Cup loosening and Adverse Reaction to Metal Debris (ARMD) are significant problems associated with the failure of Zimmer hip products. These cause some patients implanted with the Zimmer hip prostheses to suffer with symptoms such as aching and pain in the hip joint and groin, affecting their sleep and restricting their mobility. Some patients may experience very little by way of symptoms, but may have very abnormal blood test results and x-rays.

The Zimmer hip system was briefly recalled for two months in the US during 2008, while additional training was given to orthopaedic surgeons to enable them to fit the device. However, no such action was taken in the UK. UK surgeons were issued with an instructional DVD on how to fit the Zimmer hip prostheses. Zimmer allowed the product licence to lapse in 2013

Hugh James is one of four law firms who have been appointed by the court under a Group Litigation order (GLO) to represent those who have been affected by a Zimmer hip replacement in the UK.

Across the UK, 100 patients have already filed for compensation, however it is estimated that around 2000 patients have received the Zimmer Durom Hip resurfacing system since 2003. So there may be many more that have yet to come forward.

Talking about the group claim, Mark Harvey, a Partner and Head of the Claimant Division at Hugh James, commented: “Zimmer Metasul and Zimmer Durom Metal on Metal Hip replacements were meant to last approximately 15 to 20 years, but many patients have had to have their hips replaced again far sooner. It is alleged that the hips fail at a much higher rate than other similar hip replacement systems. The Zimmer Durom acetabular components are failing at a rate of 9.45 % at 7 years when it should be no more than 3.5 %. Sadly the revision operation often leads to further trauma because of the damage to the muscle and tissue through the metal reaction.

“The injury is alleged to be caused by an Adverse Reaction to Metal Debris (ARMD) and in some a failure of the implant to bond with the bone. Each patient who has received a metal on metal hip prosthesis should have been contacted by their hospital so that they can be monitored, even if they aren’t suffering from any symptoms, by having regular blood test to see if they have raised metal ions in the blood which will indicate if their implants are causing an adverse reaction.

“If patients have pain, raised metal ions level in their blood and if x-rays show fluid collections around their hip joint; or a loosening of the joint they may need to have the hip implants removed and replaced. As a result, as well as causing patients undue discomfort and the inconvenience of having to repeat the procedure, this also unfortunately means more work and the use of resources for the hospitals in monitoring each patient and conducting further operations.”

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