The Medical Technology Blog

Patient sues Wright over defective ProFemur total hip system

Dale Purcell, a plaintiff from Phoenix, AZ has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court against Wright Medical Technology after needing emergency surgery following a sudden catastrophic fracture of the titanium modular neck of his Wright ProFemur total hip system in July 2011. Purcell had the device implanted in June 2005.

According to the complaint, the titanium modular neck used in the plaintiff fractured and broke very near the femoral stem, leaving a broken portion of the titanium neck wedged inside the stem. The fracture of the modular neck adapter caused failure of the system, requiring corrective surgery, and made it extremely difficult to extract the fragment. The complaint points out that “Studies have shown that modular neck adapters made from titanium alloy, such as the ProFemur modular neck adapter…are more likely to suffer fretting corrosion and fatigue fracture than those made from cobalt-chromium”.

A 2009 report by the Australian Orthopaedic Association claims to show that the Wright ProFemur Z femoral stem had a high failure rate, requiring approximately 11.2 per cent of all patients receiving the implant to need revision surgery. Wright is alleged to have changed the material in the ProFemur hip system modular necks in 2009 from titanium to cobalt chrome alloy, but took “no corrective action in the form of a recall or even an announcement of warning to the medical community or to the public at large concerning its decision to switch from titanium modular neck adapters to cobalt chrome adapters”.

Article source: Orthopaedic Business News kindly provided by Sophie Bracken, Espicom’s medical newsletters editor.



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