The New York Times ran an article yesterday aptly titled, “It Must Be Bob. I Hear His Hip Squeaking,” discussing people with hip implants, largely Stryker hip implants, who were told to try new ceramic hip implants. Its manufacturers promoted it and its sister implants as being more durable than the previous generation of hip implants. But their hips soon squeaked, raising concerns that the noises were not just embarrassing and uncomfortable, but forebode more serious problems with these hip implants. One patient has turned to YouTube to vent her frustrations with her Stryker hip implant.
The previous generation of hip implants, before 2003, had few problems with squeaking. The Times cited a Journal of Arthroplasty study which found that 10 patients out of 143 who received ceramic hips from 2003 to 2005, amounting to 7 percent, developed squeaking. Meanwhile, no squeaks occurred among a control group of 48 patients who received hips made of metal and plastic.
Last fall the FDA warned Stryker that it failed to take the steps needed to prevent squeaking and other problems. Many patients have had surgery to replace the squeaky hip implants. Many have hired lawyers to sue Stryker, arguing that these hips never should have introduced to the market without proper testing because, as it often happens, Stryker rushed to introduce its ceramic-on-ceramic titanium hip replacement onto the market to create a competitive advantage with its competitors.
No one knows what the long-term consequences of these problems are. “Catastrophic failure has been a concern in the past, with older ceramic components,” said Dr. James M. Bried, a California surgeon who fears that squeaking might be a harbinger of future difficulties. But while no one can foretell the future of these hip implants, recipients are asking the right questions. Hopefully, behind closed doors, Stryker and the other hip replacement manufacturers are asking the same questions.
In 2013, the focus has shifted to the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular / ABG II Modular-Neck Stem.
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