Designed and manufactured by Wright Medical Technology, Inc., the Wright Conserve hip replacement system is a metal-on-metal hip implant system. The Wright Conserve hip replacement system was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) through the expedited 510(k) process, which only required the manufacturer to show that the Wright metal-on-metal hip system was substantially equivalent to devices already available on the market. By seeking FDA approval through the 510(k) process, Wright did not have to conduct pre-market safety testing. Since it received market approval from the FDA, more than 200 adverse event reports have been submitted to the agency. In addition, individuals who received these Wright metal-on-metal hip systems have filed lawsuits alleging that the devices were defectively designed, resulting in premature failure.

Wright Conserve Hip Replacement Systems

The Conserve line of Wright metal-on-metal hip devices includes the following products:

  • Conserve Femoral Surface Replacement
  • Conserve Total A-Class Advanced Metal with BFH® Technology Hip System
  • Conserve Total Hip System with BFH® Technology, which is made up of four components:
    • metal femoral stem;
    • metal femoral head;
    • metal modular neck; and
    • metal Conserve cup.
  • Conserve Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System, which is made up of two components:
    • metal femoral head cap; and
    • Conserve Plus metal acetabular cup.

Understanding The Wright Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacement Design Defects

The design of the Wright metal-on-metal hip implants includes a metal ball that rests in a metal acetabular cup.  Both the ball and the cup are made of chromium and cobalt.  The Wright Conserve hip replacement implants bear striking similarities to the recalled ASR hip implants. For example, neither the DePuy ASR or Wright Conserve hip replacement systems use a liner.  Accordingly, when the metal femoral head rotates within the cup, the metal components can grind against each other causing metal debris to shed from the implant.  The metal debris can damage the surrounding tissue and can also enter the blood stream.  Among other problems, those implanted with a Wright metal-on-metal hip may find themselves dealing with the following dangerous side effects:

  • metallosis;
  • biologic toxicity;
  • tissue necrosis;
  • infection;
  • inflammation;
  • pseudotumors; and
  • premature hip replacement failure.

These side effects can ultimately lead to hip replacement failure, requiring recipients to undergo revision surgery to remove the defective implant. In addition to hip replacement failure, new research suggests that metal-on-metal hips can cause kidney and bladder cancer.

In September 2011, the National Joint Registry for England and Wales released its Eighth Annual Report, which revealed that revision rates for Wright Conserve hip replacement devices were second only to the DePuy ASR hip implants. The DePuy ASR hip implants were subject to a worldwide recall in August 2010. These findings suggest that approximately one in 12 Wright Conserve hip replacement recipients will need to undergo revision surgery within five years of implantation.

Wright Conserve Hip Replacement Lawsuits Consolidated In Federal Court

On February 8, 2012, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) ordered that all federal Wright Conserve hip replacement lawsuits be transferred to one judge for centralized pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The Honorable William J. Duffey, Jr. has been assigned to preside over the multidistrict litigation, In re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2329”). The JPML reasoned that consolidation of these Wright Medical hip lawsuits was warranted given that most of “plaintiffs’ claims focus upon the metal-on-metal design of the Conserve products and the alleged propensity of the devices to generate high levels of metal debris, cause metallosis in the surrounding tissue and/or fail early (including loosening of the acetabular cup).” Moreover, the JMPL noted that the “actions share factual questions concerning design, manufacture, marketing and performance of Wright’s Conserve line of hip implant products.”

This is the third MDL involving metal-on-metal hip systems. Currently, DePuy Orthopeadics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is defending lawsuits alleging that its ASR hip replacement and metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement systems were defectively designed in the following actions: In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2197”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio; and In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2244”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Similar to the Wright Conserve hip replacement litigation, the DePuy litigations allege that the ASR hip replacement and the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement systems were defectively designed.

Contact A Wright Conserve Hip Replacement Lawyer For A Free Case Review

If you or a loved one received a Wright Conserve hip replacement and experienced hip replacement failure or other complications, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. Contact one of our lawyers today for a free and confidential Wright metal-on-metal hip lawsuit evaluation. The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP have extensive litigation experience, and have recovered billions of dollars for their clients. In addition to being staunch advocates for your claim, our hip replacement injury lawyers also provide personal attention to guide you through the complex litigation process.

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Published March 23, 2012 by