Affected by the Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Recall?
New Jersey Birmingham Hip Recall Attorneys Offer Free Consultations
The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System is a multi-part hip replacement system manufactured by Smith & Nephew. In marketing this medical device, the company emphasized the high degree of customization options available, since the system includes parts of variable sizes, which surgeons can use interchangeably to fit the patient’s hip. Additionally, this system uses hip resurfacing, a less drastic treatment for pain than hip replacement. However, the R3 cup liners and the femoral head pieces of the BHR system are both made of chromium and cobalt. The result is that the hip resurfacing system works like a metal-on-metal implant. This can have serious health consequences, as the two metal components rub together and release metallic particles into the bloodstream. Due to these risks, Smith & Nephew issued a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing recall, and it now faces many lawsuits from injured patients.
If you or a loved one experienced hip implant failure or complications from a BHR system, then contact Keefe Law Firm today. Our product liability attorneys are currently reviewing cases concerning hip resurfacing problems. We can investigate your situation and advise you on whether you may be able to file a lawsuit and/or join an ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL).
What Are the Dangers of Defective BHR Systems and R3 Liners?
The BHR system is just one of the latest hip replacement products that Smith & Nephew has recalled over the last few years. Many of these defective medical devices had the same flaw – the metal-on-metal design, which numerous studies and lawsuits have found to be dangerous. The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system consists of two main parts: the femoral head, which resurfaces the top of the femur, and the acetabular cup, which fits into the hip socket. The BHR system may also use an R3 acetabular cup liner, which separates these two components.
However, the femoral head, R3 liner and acetabular cup are metal. When the patient moves, these components rub together. Over time, small metallic fragments may separate and enter the patient’s bloodstream. Common side effects associated with metal-on-metal systems like this include:
- Bone and tissue necrosis. The metal fragments may cause tissue death, causing serious medical complications. Without prompt treatment, necrosis may be fatal.
- Tumors. High levels of cobalt and chromium in the blood can cause the growth of benign tumors.
- Metallosis. Metal poisoning or metallosis occurs when toxic levels of metal build up in the body. This can cause multiple severe health conditions, including:
- Heart failure. Left untreated, cardiomyopathy caused by metal poisoning may eventually result in cardiac arrest and death.
- Depression and memory problems. Metallosis may affect the brain, causing memory lapses, depression and personality changes.
- Skin rash. A widespread rash is one of the most common symptoms of metallosis.
- Visual and auditory impairment. Particles of metal in the blood can affect the organs and nerves, including the eyes and ears. Without treatment, permanent blindness and/or hearing impairment may result.
Usually, these symptoms necessitate the complete removal of the metal-on-metal system.
What Can I Do If My Implant Is Part of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Recall?
In June 2012, Smith & Nephew issued a recall for the R3 acetabular liner after numerous reports of implant failure. The company also released a hazard alert to surgeons, warning of potential hip resurfacing problems. However, Smith & Nephew did not recall the rest of the BHR system until June of 2015. Even without the metal liner, the side effects of the metal-on-metal implant remained. Additionally, just before the official Birmingham Hip Resurfacing recall, the company sent out a field safety notice to hospitals and surgeons. This notice identified certain groups which may have a greater risk of injury and revision surgery. These are:
- Males age 65 or over
- People who require a femoral head of 48 mm or less
Smith & Nephew is currently facing dozens of lawsuits brought by patients who suffered injuries and required revision surgery due to the defects in the BHR and R3 systems. In April of 2017, many of these claims were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Maryland.
If you or a loved one underwent hip revision surgery to remove a BHR and/or R3 system, then you may be entitled to compensation, especially if you fall into one of the groups listed above. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file an individual claim or join the ongoing MDL. The attorneys at Keefe Law Firm are currently investigating Birmingham hip recall claims and can advise you about filing a lawsuit.
More Questions? Contact Our Birmingham Hip Recall Attorneys Today
If you want to know your legal options or need information about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit for hip resurfacing problems, then contact Keefe Law Firm today. We offer free initial consultations and contingency fee arrangements, so that you do not owe us fees unless you recover compensation. Our product liability attorneys have offices throughout New Jersey, including locations in Red Bank, New Brunswick, Newark and Point Pleasant.
Call (866) 575-5000 or contact us online today to schedule a free case review.