Zimmer Holdings

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Zimmer Holdings is a medical device company that designs, develops, markets, and manufactures orthopaedic reconstructive, spinal, and trauma devices, dental implants, and orthopaedic surgery supplies. Zimmer Holdings operates in over 25 countries around the world and sells its products in over 100 countries.

Zimmer Holdings was founded in 1927 by Justin Zimmer in Warsaw, Indiana with other manufacturing facilities in Dover, Ohio and Statesville, North Carolina. Zimmer Holdings offers reconstructive devices that help patients to restore function lost from disease or trauma. Zimmer Holdings supplies and is best known for making implants for knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. Zimmer Holdings is one of the world’s largest producers of knee replacements and controls around 25 percent of the knee replacement market.

A major concern for Zimmer Holdings is that research findings suggest that cobalt and chromium metal shavings that corrode away from implant devices could be affecting nearby tissues of patients. These metal particles solicit cellular changes that cause cancer in 20 percent of patients with the all metal implants. Many patients have required revision surgeries and other added medical expense from Zimmer Holdings’ products. As a result of this and other problems experienced by patients, many lawsuits were filed against Zimmer Holdings.

Zimmer Holdings Durom Cup Recall and Lawsuit

In 2007, a nationally recognized surgeon named Lawrence Dorr reported problems with the Durom Cup. Evidently, the hip replacements would fail only a few months after surgery. This was inconvenient for patients and would also put patients in tremendous pain. Dr. Dorr claimed that the device’s construction quality was the problem. After device failure, it was necessary to perform the corrective “revision surgery” for the patient.

The Durom Cup continued to be used until 2008 and was then recalled by Zimmer Holdings. Zimmer Holdings told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that instructions for surgical technique and use were inadequate. Zimmer Holdings temporarily advised orthopaedic surgeons to avoid the use of the Durom Cup until additional training was provided.

Lawsuits against Zimmer Holdings for the Durom Cup have been consolidated since 2010. The lawsuits were to compensate patients for medical costs, lost wages, and unnecessary pain and suffering. There were over 75 cases awaiting trial and have since been moved to multidistrict litigation (MDL). By processing the court cases through MDL the courts are able to save on human resources involved. Durom Cup lawsuits are also expected to continue to rise.

Zimmer Holdings Hip Replacement Complications

Zimmer Holdings also had other problems related to their hip replacements, such as the Durom Cup. Many patients that had received the implants reported severe reactions to metal debris from the components. Zimmer Holdings has since been held accountable for patients experiencing serious health conditions such as metallosis, osteolysis, and osteonecrosis.

Infections have occurred in about 1 percent of the demographic. Although rare, a severe infection from a hip implant can eventually lead to an amputation. If the infection is caught within a month of surgery, the surgery site is re-opened, cleaned, and sometimes the implant must be removed and re-implanted.

Zimmer Holdings Knee Replacement Problems

Zimmer Holdings has a number of knee replacement products on the market. While popular, the knee replacements are known to have caused problems in patients. Quality issues and vulnerability to infections are some of the common issues affecting those with Zimmer knee replacements.

Other problems from Zimmer knee replacements include:

  • Fracturing or loosening of knee replacement parts
  • Instability or dislocation of the joint
  • Misalignment or breakdown of replacement components
  • Nerve damage
  • Fractured bones
  • Pain and swelling in joint

Loosening is among the most common issues from a faulty knee replacement. This happens when the components of a knee replacement become separated from the bone. Soft tissues might begin to grow in between the implant components and bones, which causes instability and pain for the patient. Loosening of a knee replacement is common over time but a faulty knee replacement may begin to show problems in less than a year.

View Sources

  1. “How Long Will My New Hip Last?.” Johns Hopkins Health Alerts. N.p., 09 Feb 2009. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/arthritis/JohnsHopkinsArthritisHealthAlert_2893-1.html
  2. Meier, Barry. “Senator Seeks Data on Artificial Hips and Knees.” New York Times. N.p., 30 Jul 2010. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/health/31device.html
  3. “Total Hip Replacement.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. N.p.. Web. 24 May 2013. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00377
  4. Wilson, Natalia, Eugene Schneller, Kathleen Montgomery, and Kevin Bozic. “Hip And Knee Implants: Current Trends And Policy Considerations.” Health Affairs. 27. 1587-1598. Web. 24 May. 2013. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/27/6/1587.full
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