FAQs – Hip Implant

What implant was recalled and why?

Sulzer Orthopedics, which is a major implant manufacturer, found that the Inter-Op “acetabular shell” is defective. This portion of the hip implant is inserted into the acetabular, or upper part, of the hip and is designed to bond with natural bone. Sulzer Orthopedics found that an oily residue was mistakenly left on the shell during the manufacturing process. This residue prevents the shell from bonding with the bone. As a result, the hip implants tend to break apart within the body.

What are the symptoms related to a faulty device?

Affected patients tend to exhibit different symptoms depending on how long they have had their implant. Within six weeks after surgery, a patient may have no pain, or may have pain in the groin, buttock or inner thigh. A patient may feel pain on rising from a seated position or with walking. An x-ray may show that the components have shifted. After six weeks, a patient may experience pain with weight bearing and require a crutch or a cane. In addition, the patient may not be able to exert pressure on a straightened leg.

What should I do if I think I received a faulty device?

The first indication that your device is defective is that you are experiencing pain in your inner thigh, buttock, with walking and with standing from a seated position. If you are suffering from these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. Ask if you received a Sulzer Inter-Op shell during your hip replacement surgery. If you have, ask to have an x-ray conducted to determine if the pieces of your device have moved. If your surgery took place over 3 months ago, ask for a Lauenstein lateral x-ray, since a head-on x-ray may not adequately indicate the movement of your device.

Will I be suing my doctor?

No. You will be filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the Inter-Op device, not a medical malpractice claim against your own doctor. The legal issue relates to the defective product that was sold, not the doctor who used the device.

Do recipients of defective hip replacements have a right to be compensated for their injuries?

If, after proper medical evaluation, it is determined that you are suffering an injury related to a defective Inter-Op shell, you may have the right to legal compensation. If the faulty shells have affected you, or someone close to you, you may be able to file a claim against the device’s manufacturer. Those who have been harmed by the product should participate in these lawsuits so that the Sulzer Orthopedics will be held liable for marketing a defective product.