The reason for the temporary suspension is aptly illustrated by the fortunes and frustrations suffered by Zimmer patients who have had painful issues with their hip replacements.
William Kokoszka is one such patient. The Connecticut man received a Durom Cup from the Warsaw, Indiana manufacturer in 2006, and alleges to have experienced constant and devastating pain over the course of 18 months before having to deal with a second hip replacement procedure.
"The quality of life physically and mentally, today and in the future, for myself and my family has been permanently damaged by the defective Zimmer Durom Cup I received in 2006," stated Kokoszka, of Meriden. "Zimmer should be accountable for its negligence and disregard for the safety of patients implanted with the Zimmer Durom Cup."
Then there is the story of Renee Donnelly. The Arizona woman underwent a procedure using the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement system in 2008 not long before the manufacturer issued the temporary suspension of the product. Donnelly's pain, described as excruciating, lasted for almost two years before she, too, was required to undergo a second hip replacement in February of this year.
"At my age, I wanted to continue my active lifestyle, including spending time with my family, working with my charities, traveling with my husband, and being able to perform basic daily activities," said Donnelly, 74, of Paradise Valley. "However, once I was implanted with the defective Durom Cup, my life became very limited."
As it turned out, according to the August 7th issue of Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, Donnelly received her allegedly defective hip just four months before the manufacturer issued its temporary suspension of the Durom Cup due to failure rates.
It is estimated that the Zimmer defective hip replacements were used in about 12,000 procedures in the two-year period bordering 2006 and 2008. A so-called 'metal-on-metal' device, the Durom Cup was designed and relied on the expectation that the device would bond naturally to the hip bone, rather than depend on the use of screws or cement.
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Given the number of patients who received the Durom Cup in the two years from 2006 until the temporary suspension in 2008, only time will tell if more failures will come in. As of 2010, the oldest Zimmer Durom Cup implant will be just over four years old.
The average lifespan for a hip replacement is expected to be 15 years.
It has been reported that the manufacturer issued the temporary suspension of the Durom Cup in 2008 in order to update product labeling and "to provide more detailed surgical technique instructions to surgeons and implements its surgical training program in the US." Zimmer has reportedly denied any evidence of defect with its product and has so far declined to issue a formal recall.