Law Offices of Andrew J. Carboy, LLC

Recalled Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Replacement System: February 2014 Update On Patient Lawsuits

February 3, 2014, New York, N.Y.
By Attorney Andrew J. Carboy

In the Summer of 2012, Howmedica Osteonics Corp., doing business as Stryker Orthopaedics, announced a voluntary recall of its Rejuvenate Hip Replacement System. Among other problems with the system is the connection of two components made of different types of metal: the femoral stem (made of titanium) and the femoral neck (made of cobalt and chromium).

In explaining the reasons for the recall, Stryker acknowledged “the risks associated with fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction.” Previously in 2012, Stryker admitted:

With the additional taper junction, the modular neck femoral
components provide an additional interface that may, in rare
situations, be a potential source for metal fretting and crevice
corrosion. Whenever two metal surfaces are in contact and there
is the potential for relative motion, metal debris may be generated
or corrosion can take place.

When the Stryker devices fail, patients develop debilitating inflammation, loss of range of motion, and severe groin and hip pain. Equally troubling, the blood of many of these same recipients becomes contaminated with high levels of cobalt, a toxic heavy metal. Patients with elevated blood cobalt levels report ailments such as rashes, hearing and visual impairment, dizziness, hair loss, and difficulties with memory, concentration, and communication.

Over 20,000 Americans relied upon these medical devices to restore function to their hips. Now, just a few years after receiving Stryker joint replacements, an increasing number of these same patients are learning that they will need their devices removed by an extensive and invasive second surgical procedure known as a “revision.” Revision surgery requires the extraction of titanium hardware from the femur or “thigh bone.” There is also a long recuperation period, averaging about six weeks without weight bearing. Blood testing, MRI studies and aspiration of fluid around the device are the diagnostic tests ordered by surgeons to determine whether a revision is necessary.

Rejuvenate patients, even those whose devices appear to be functioning properly at this time, are very concerned about the potential for cobalt blood poisoning and future health effects.

It is no surprise that hundreds of patients are electing to file product liability lawsuits against Stryker, seeking compensation for the trauma, frustration and pain of having a revision surgery. Most of the lawsuits are filed in one of two courts: Superior Court of Bergen County, New Jersey (Honorable Brian Martinotti, presiding); and the United States District Court/District of Minnesota (U.S.D.J. Donovan W. Frank, presiding).

Judge Martinotti, assigned to the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation by the New Jersey Supreme Court, holds monthly conferences to ensure that the lawsuits move forward in an orderly fashion. Judge Martinotti has also organized mediation programs of a subset of Stryker claims to determine whether early settlements are possible. A first wave of mediations resulted in five settlements.

The author of this article, representing dozens of Rejuvenate patients, is currently mediating one such lawsuit. Judge Martinotti is laying ground rules for a second wave of mediations to commence later this Spring.

Stryker Rejuvenate patients interested in learning more about these serious issues may call (212) 502-7092 or email me at for a free consultation. I am interested in hearing about your experiences, and the next steps you are taking with your physicians. I will provide you with information obtained from the most recent medical studies of Rejuvenate patients, and share with you what I have learned from leading orthopedic surgeons.

I truly hope that your Rejuvenate is continuing to function perfectly, you are doing fine, and that you will not need a further surgery. You are welcome to call if you have any concerns. I wish you best health.

Andrew J. Carboy