Smith & Nephew Hip Lawsuit

All hip replacements come with risks, and if your doctor thinks a replacement could help you function better, they will review your options before deciding on a replacement. However, some products have undergone consumer recalls, and their manufacturers are involved in pending litigation. Smith & Nephew is a London-based company that manufactures hip replacement products and has been named in several lawsuits regarding their products.

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Why Are People Filing Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Lawsuits?

Like many other hip replacement device manufacturers, Smith & Nephew has faced litigation pertaining to damages and complications caused by metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. Research has shown that the wear occurring from metal-on-metal devices releases metal ions in the body leading to metallosis and other severe bodily damage. In addition, patients have accused Smith & Nephew of knowing about the risks associated with metal-on-metal devices for years without informing patients or healthcare providers of the risks. 

In addition to litigation related to the increased need for revision surgery for multiple hip replacement products, Smith & Nephew has also faced concerns in the US regarding illegal practices involving kickbacks to healthcare providers.

Which Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Systems Have a High Failure Rate?

Several devices manufactured by Smith & Nephew are facing lawsuits due to their high failure rate.

They include:

  • R3 Acetabular System
  • Birmingham Hip Resurfacing implants
  • Modular SMF
  • Modular Redapt Revision Femoral Hip
  • Emperion Hip System

The company has recalled at least 6,000 devices since 2012. 

What Are Signs of Malfunctioning Hip Replacement Products?

While some hip replacement failures occur without negligence or fault. Some are caused due to a malfunction in the replacement products used during the surgery.

Symptoms you may experience due to a defective replacement product include:

  • continued joint pain
  • damaged bone tissue, medically termed osteolysis
  • metal debris accumulation in the area around the product, or metallosis
  • development of pseudotumors, which are soft tissue masses occurring near the artificial parts
  • hip dislocation

What Types of Treatment Are Available for Malfunctioning Hip Replacement Products?

Secondary surgery is required if hip replacement failure occurs due to natural causes or defective products. This surgery is called revision surgery. If a revision is necessary due to malfunctioning replacement products, those products will need to be replaced with working artificial parts. In addition, symptoms such as metallosis, osteolysis, and pseudotumors will need to be treated in addition to the replacement of defective products. 

Have the Defective Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Systems Been Recalled?

Since 2007 Smith & Nephew has initiated 51 recalls with the FDA. These recalls focus primarily on their R3 Acetabular System and the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System. Due to the high failure rate of these systems, multiple individual lawsuits and one mass litigation lawsuit for the BHR have been filed.

Why Was the R3 Acetabular System Recalled? 

The R3 Acetabular System, produced by Smith & Nephew, is a product used for hip replacement surgery in the United States since 2006. The system includes a cup and metal liners. Although intended for use with multiple materials, it has been found that when the metal liners are used with metal products to replace the head of the femur, the metal-on-metal combination results in an unusually high number of revision surgeries. 

Common reasons provided for revision surgery have been:

  • loosening
  • pain
  • device failure
  • infection
  • metal sensitivity
  • dislocation

After discovering consumers were experiencing difficulty with the R3 Acetabular System, Smith & Nephew issued a market recall for the metal liner component of the devices. On June 1, 2012, the recall was initiated. R3 Acetabular Systems are still in use as they can be used without metal-on-metal components.

Why Was the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System Recalled?

The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system produced by Smith & Nephew was used widely between 2006 and 2015. However, in June 2015, the system was removed from the market due to a significant number of revision surgeries. In a statement by Smith & Nephew, the devices have been recalled only for use in certain patients. 

The following complications have been noted for the significant number of revision surgeries: 

  • Infections
  • fractures
  • dislocation
  • metallosis
  • pseudotumors

Why Were the Modular SMF and Redapt Revision Femoral Systems Recalled?

Each of these systems was recalled due to the high number of reported complaints and system failures. Additionally, in their recall notification, Smith & Nephew indicated the recall was issued as a precaution due to the increased risk of revision surgeries seen in similar products. 

Why Was the Emperion Hip System Recalled?

The Empirion Hip System uses a titanium femur head which has caused complications for some patients. The stem design provides the benefits of being interchangeable but has been found to increase wear. In addition, research has shown the system can break, causing significant pain and cause for revision surgery.

Why Is Smith & Nephew Facing Litigation for Kickbacks?

Smith & Nephew has had multiple suits for the use of kickbacks to persuade medical professionals to buy their products. In 2007 the company paid $28.9 million in criminal and civil lawsuits. The case against them alleges the company violated Medicaid, Medicare, and US federal anti-kickback laws for paying surgeons between 2002 and 2006. Similar claims have been brought in other countries, with Smith & Nephew being found guilty.

How Many Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Lawsuits Have Been Filed?

Multiple individual lawsuits related to Smith & Nephew’s hip replacement products have been filed since the initial R3 Acetabular System recall in 2012. 

The BHR is the only recalled device in the Smith & Nephew family of products currently facing mass litigation. As of October 2022, the mass litigation for the BHR has grown to 646 lawsuits, with the potential to increase in the coming months.

What Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Lawsuit Settlements Have There Been?

In 2013 Smith & Nephew quietly settled most cases for the R3 Acetabular System. However, continuing issues have arisen with their hip replacement products, so the company set aside $203 million to cover additional lawsuits in 2015. 

What Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Lawsuits Are There?

The multi-district litigation for the Smith & Nephew BHR system is ongoing. In addition to litigation due to the failure of the BHR system, the judicial panel recently opened the litigation to include those related to total hip replacement surgeries that contained BHR systems and non-BHR components. This addition increases the number of lawsuits to more than 850 pending cases.

Who Qualifies for a Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Lawsuit?

Patients whose Smith & Nephew hip replacement devices were recalled or faulty may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Smith & Nephew, Inc. to recover from the financial damages incurred. Lost wages, hospital bills, and other medical expenses are some of the damages that Smith & Nephew hip replacement patients may be entitled to receive. If you are still determining if the hip implant device used in your surgery is part of the recalled products, reach out to your doctor immediately. Do not wait for the hip implant to fail or malfunction.

How Do I Find a Hip Replacement Attorney?

If your Smith & Nephew hip replacement device has been recalled and you’ve learned from your doctor that the cause of your adverse side effects was due to defects in the device, you should contact a Smith & Nephew hip replacement lawyer. Law firms like Seeger Weiss specialize in litigation against large corporations like Smith & Nephew.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.


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