In a pair of Wright hip lawsuits recently filed against Wright Medical, judges upheld some allegations that accused the company of producing defective Profemur hips.

In late September, Judge David Ebel upheld a liability design defect claim brought by plaintiff Glenn Wollam, whose 2 Profemur Total Hip System implant broke less than four years after his first surgery. The judge ruled that the device at the center of this Wright Profemur lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for Colorado, was inappropriately designed with a titanium neck, when a cobalt chrome material might have made it last longer.

“Evidence suggests that a cobalt chrome neck could have endured greater wear and tear than the titanium hip implanted in Wollam and would have significantly decreased the possibility of fracturing,” the judge stated in his decision.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, another patient realized the justice they deserved when District Judge David Campbell upheld similar charges filed by plaintiff Virginia Welch, whose Profemur Z implant twisted 90 degrees clockwise only three years after her initial procedure. While the judge refuted a “failure to warn” claim against Wright Medical, it did leave the case open for possible damages, since the “plaintiff clearly has pled a design defect claim,” the decision stated. “The facts that must be proved to establish that claim need not be pled in every detail in the complaint.”

The line of Wright Profemur modular-neck hip stems, which consist of metal components, have not been recalled, but bear striking resemblance to the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants, which were taken off the market by the company in July 2012 after they were found to cause patients to suffer hip replacement failure, revision surgeries, and metal ion poisoning. In 2009, it was determined by the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry that the Wright Profemur femoral stems had a revision rate of 11.2% within three years of surgery.

Published October 16, 2012 by