I have met with experts in the United States and Europe to learn why the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hips fail and what the failure rate of these hips would be in the end.
The logical question was how bad will this get?
When I decided to pursue these cases almost three years ago Stryker said, in an earnings call, they expected the failure rate to be one half of one percent. Physicians I knew were telling a dramatically different story. They were experiencing failure rates within their own patient populations were rising above 30%. The logical question was how bad will this get?
Unfortunately, I am comfortable stating that after three years of investigation and litigation, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hips are proving to be among the worst ever put on the market. I used to believe that for a number of the people that contacted me, the recall notice was their first and last idea that anything was wrong with their implant. Even when they went to their doctor to discuss the significance of the recall notice, they were told there was most likely nothing to worry about. In fact some of these patients had doctors who were unwilling to even prescribe blood tests and imaging films because they were so sure this would not be a big problem.
How wrong these doctors have proven to be. Time and time again, when these patients insisted on heightened monitoring they ultimately received the extra testing to show objective evidence of the beginnings of what would become a serious problem. That is, though they were found to have slightly elevated cobalt levels in their blood for a period of months to even years, at some point they would see a dramatic increase. Pain would become a more serious issue. Time and time again doctors and patients would realize that what they thought was normal post revision discomfort was really the early signs of metallosis, a condition that causes permanent bone and muscle damage.
Ultimately most patients who still have a Rejuvenate or ABG II hip will be told their MRI results, X-Ray results, blood tests and other indicators require them to have their Rejuvenate and ABG II hips removed. This means a revision surgery that requires their surgeon to remove the patients’ femoral stem.
The stem that was implanted in the femur is designed to promote bone growth into the device and to actually make the implant part of the femur. So, removing the implant from the femur is hard. It has required many patients have their femur purposefully fractured or unintentionally but unavoidably fractured during the removal surgery. These fractures can be a big problem in surgery and postoperatively during recovery. Everyone implanted with the Rejuvenate or ABG II must live in fear of what the metal poisoning and revision surgery means to them.
Unfortunately the medical literature is now suggesting that neurologic, cardiac and organ disorders have been linked to heavy metal poisoning. Of particular interest is a study from a researcher and physician in the United Kingdom that suggests those with high levels of cobalt in their bloodstreams are at greater risk for developing certain cancers.
The bottom line is patients with the Rejuvenate and ABG II are victims. They have an exquisitely defective device that has the potential to continue to have a ravaging affect on the body even after its removal. What I’ve heard from most people with these hips is that they wish they never had the darn (they use a much harsher adjective) things put in. Unfortunately we cannot turn back time, but we can help them going forward.