Wright Medical Profemur – Hip Problems

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Overview

Located in Arlington, Tenn., Wright Medical Technology designs, manufactures and distributes orthopaedic implants and other medical devices, such as bone graft substitutes. Wright has subsidiaries and distributors in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. According to their website, the company has 1,400 employees.

Wright Medical’s implant and treatment products include devices for the following:

  • Total knee replacement
  • Stature-specific knee solutions
  • Partial knee replacement products
  • Limb salvage technology, including expandable implants
  • Permanent limb salvage implant
  • Total hip replacement
  • Hip resurfacing
  • Partial hip replacement
  • Total ankle replacement
  • Broken wrist treatment
  • Soft tissue treatments, including regenerative tissue

About Wright Medical Profemur

Wright Medical Technology’s PROFEMUR line is a modular total hip system, allowing surgeons easier matching of implants to bone, optional fixation methods and better control of leg length, offset and version.

The neck of the PROFEMUR Z hip stem is made of titanium, a corrosion-resistant metal with the ability to last up to 20 years, making hip replacement surgery more effective and long-lasting. Many companies like Wright Medical, DePuy and Stryker have manufactured these metal-on-metal implants, and until 2010, surgeons used them widely as a replacement for the old plastic and ceramic implants. Because of concerns raised by patients, however, these companies have found themselves facing government scrutiny and patient lawsuits.

Complications and Problems

In 2009, the Australian Orthopaedic Association found that one component of the hip system, the PROFEMUR Z femoral stem, failed at an unacceptable rate, requiring revision surgery in one out of every nine patients.

As with many other metal-on-metal modular hip implants, such as the Stryker ABG II, the Wright Medical PROFEMUR system was found to wear at the joint, causing potentially toxic metal shards to be released into the patient’s system. When these metals are released into the bloodstream, they can cause a serious medical condition known as metallosis. Metallosis can affect the heart, nerves, kidneys and even the thyroid. Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Weight gain
  • Numbness
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision changes
  • Urinary difficulty

In addition, patients have reported excruciating pain at the hip joint, in the groin and in the leg, resulting in walking difficulty and painful swelling. Local body tissues can also be damaged by the fretting, corroded metals of the hip implant.

In some cases, patients have even reported total failure of the hip implant involving splitting or fracturing of the device.

Case Review

Revision surgery, while the most common treatment for hip replacement injuries, is costly and painful. Added to the pain and trauma of the original hip replacement, revision surgery can result in long recovery times and long lasting side effects.

If you or a loved one has experienced pain and suffering due to the surgical implantation of this device, please contact an attorney at Ward Black Law today. We can review your case and help you understand your options.

For more information or to talk to a Ward Black Law staff member or attorney, please visit www.wardblacklaw.com or call 1-877-256-1214.

For More Information

Metal-on-metal hip implant questions and answers

Product description

Case report

FDA report on metal-on-metal hip implants

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