Bill regrets that he didn’t research the Cormet before having surgery. He would have discovered that the Cormet and the Rejuvenate are both metal-on-metal hip replacements and they both fail at a much higher rate than normal. In Bill’s case the failure rate was five years. He was promised 25-30 years. And both implants have similar side effects: Pain, swelling and metal poisoning.
“This partial hip implant was always painful but I carried on with it for five years - by 2012, I couldn’t take it anymore,” says Bill, who has undergone several back surgeries and considers himself “pretty tough.” The Stryker Cormet was always a problem: Bill never had the mobility he was promised, and as time went on, balance became a serious issue.
“My surgeon led me to believe that having this kind of partial hip replacement was like getting your tonsils out,” says Bill, laughing. “Instead I wound up in rehab for almost four weeks right after surgery. Later my blood tests showed screamingly high chromium and cobalt levels, and the scary part is that nobody knows what will happen down the road.”
Bill decided to get a second opinion (he wasn’t happy with his first surgeon) but it wasn’t easy. Bill was referred to a third surgeon at Mass. General Hospital who only does revision surgeries - and he is busy.
“This orthopedic surgeon just cleans up the metal-on-metal hip replacement mess,” adds Bill. “Thank god I was able to see him, but he told me that I have to be careful for the rest of my life because so much damage has been done. He said that the metal parts had rubbed so much it was eating away at the socket and there were pockets of fluid around the unit itself - no doubt toxic as well.
When this surgeon explained that many of these Stryker hip replacements are defective and can cause metallosis - among other adverse side effects - I felt violated. You put your trust in surgeons and the FDA for approving these devices so they must be OK. Wrong!”
The Cormet was approved by the FDA in 2007 through the 501k pre-market approval process. This process allows a company to obtain approval without submitting a device to clinical trials, reasoning that it is similar to a device already on the market. In July 2011, Stryker Orthopaedics, which distributes the Cormet hip replacement, announced it would cease distribution of the Cormet hip resurfacing system because it “no longer fits within Stryker’s long-term product strategy.”
“I have never been a fan of litigation and I’ve never sued anyone in my life but this is something else,” says Bill. “I have spent so much time in rehab and I’m still in physical therapy. I want Stryker to own up to their mistake. I know thousands and thousands of hip replacement lawsuits have been filed against Stryker and other medical device companies; some people are getting multimillion-dollar hip replacement settlements, but I would be happy to get $50 and an apology because this has become a moral thing. I could use the money but right is right.
READ MORE STRYKER ORTHOPEDICS REJUVENATE LEGAL NEWS
“Just yesterday I saw that Stryker hit its all-time stock high but they can’t pay people injured by their product? I can’t see how you can injure that many people and get away with it. So bring on the lawsuits and I hope more people with defective hips and knees file - there is strength in numbers.”