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Zimmer Durom Cup through the Words of a Young Man

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Los Angeles, CAHe is identified as William Long, MD, of the Dorr Arthritis Institute. In a past video posted on YouTube, Dr. Long appears as a calming influence in the unnerving debate over the Zimmer hip recall, amidst the pain, frustration and inconvenience encountered by patients looking for a mobility savior—and instead acquiring an enemy that attacks from within.

"The Durom Cup is a portion of a total hip replacement system by Zimmer Corporation which is associated with a loosening rate due to failure of bone ingrowth into the cup," Dr. Long notes. The loosening or failure rate to which the doctor refers is substantial given the normal life expectancy of an artificial hip—Zimmer hip replacement among them. Previous experience has shown that hip replacement patients can reasonably expect 15 to 20 years of useable service.

The experience with the Zimmer Durom Cup has been anything but, to which a Zimmer patient who also appears in the video, attests.

Christopher Bell is the antithesis of the artificial hip patient stereotype. He is young—35 years old at the time of his initial replacement surgery—and yet here he is, describing the pain that made him feel "like and old man." What was even more frustrating was that Bell had undergone a double hip replacement using the Zimmer system. The same parts went in on both sides, Bell says. And yet while his right hip was fine, his left was causing him grievous pain and severely impacting his lifestyle.

"I couldn't even pick up a laundry basket off the floor."

Compounding the problem was deep pain in his groin, which was migrating from his left hip. He could barely lift his leg without pain in his hip and his groin. Long drives became a problem as well, as Bell found it difficult to shift his position in the seat—something that most of us simply take for granted.

Bell also touches on something that has been raised in the past by patient advocates concerned with failing medical devices and the need for recalls. Unlike the recall of an appliance or a vehicle, where the products can be easily updated, a recalled medical device is usually only replaced if it has failed (replacement that is accomplished at considerable expense and inconvenience).

Patients with a recalled device such as the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement, which happens to be functioning properly, will always live with the possibility of the other shoe dropping—the potential failure of the device.

"I do worry about it [for] the future," Bell says. In the meantime, his right hip seems to be okay "for now," while his left hip was replaced a second time with a different product.

Dr. Long notes in the video that one of the difficulties in diagnosing failed or failing Zimmer defective hip replacements is recognition of early warning signs.

"The patient complains of start-up pain, pain when rising from a chair, when entering or exiting a car, or when going from standing still to walking. None of the patients could walk a half-mile or a mile without increasing and sometimes excruciating pain.

"Despite all of these clinical findings, the X-rays remained normal for up to one year after the failed operation."

The message here is know what kind of hip replacement product you have, take note of any unusual pain and report anything unusual to your doctor. The Zimmer Durom Cup system is allegedly defective and has been recalled. Durom Cup patients experiencing pain may require revision surgery—and may be in a position to pursue compensation from the manufacturer.

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