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Noted Surgeon No Longer Using Durom Cup

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Los Angeles, CAWhen Zimmer hip began to make the news with regard to alleged problems with the Zimmer Durom Cup, Zimmer suggested at the time that the product was not at fault, but rather surgical technique was to blame. Specifically, Los Angeles-based Dr. Lawrence Dorr of the Dorr Arthritis Institute incurred Zimmer's wrath after he alerted his fellow surgeons that the Durom Cup hip replacement system was failing after a few years in some patients.

Zimmer, as we were reminded last June 19 in The New York Times, suggested that the problem was not its product, but rather the surgical technique of Dr. Dorr.

Zimmer at the time briefly halted sales of that particular product in the Zimmer hip replacement system, and issued an updated guidance to surgeons on the correct way, in Zimmer's view, to install the device. However, Zimmer consistently stood behind its product, denying any suggestion of a flaw.

It should be noted that the surgeon about whom Zimmer was critical is regarded as a world-renowned master surgeon who constantly works to improve his craft. Various videos by or about Dr. Dorr showcase his expertise and effectiveness, with hip replacement patients having the capacity to walk to drive and to function within a day or two of hip replacement surgery. Many can go back to work within days, and resume normal activities within a few weeks.

In one video, directed at potential hip replacement patients, Dr. Dorr maintains that a successful hip replacement can and should last between 20 and 30 years.

However, when the noted surgeon found that the Zimmer Durom Cup was failing after a few years in more than a few patients, he felt compelled to address the issue. He was not alone. The New York Times on June 19 reported that two other surgeons who provided Zimmer with supportive data in 2008 were also noticing similar failure rates.

In addressing the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement issue at a recent gathering of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), Dr. Dorr and three of his colleagues presented information on patient outcomes relative to the Durom Cup.

According to their abstract, "The Durom cup failed fixation leading to a radiographic failure rate of aseptic loosening of 1 in 4 cups and clinical failure in 2 of 10 patients. The cause of failure is the cup geometry and sharp peripheral fins which result in peripheral fixation without contact of fixation surface to acetabular bone in some hips. Because we cannot predict in which patients this will occur we no longer use the Durom cup."

In 2008, the surgeon who was an early critic of the Zimmer defective hip replacements received the Humanitarian Award from the AAOS for his work in founding and growing Operation Walk.

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