Stryker’s Ceramic Hip Replacements: How Many Really Squeak?

In early 2008, Stryker Corporation issued a recall of its Trident PSL and Hemispherical Acetabular Cups hip implants due to a number of complaints about failure of the products. One of the more noticeable problems with the Stryker hip implants was an audible squeaking after installation. This article discusses the squeaking problems caused by Stryker hip implants that were recalled in 2008. For a discussion about Stryker’s recent 2012 recall, click here for an updated article.

Ceramic Hip Implants Can Squeak

Replacement hip parts were traditionally made from metal or plastic. Newer versions made from ceramic were supposed to work better, but many patients have had to have their hips replaced again because they simply could not live with the squeaking.

There have been mixed reports on exactly how many ceramic hip replacement patients experience squeaking. Stryker maintains that less than one percent of their Trident PSL and Hemispherical Acetabular Cups squeak. However, recent studies seem to indicate that the numbers are higher. For example, the following studies reported the percentage of patients who experience squeaking at:

  • 3%: Philadelphia’s Rothman Institute, internationally recognized in orthopedic science and technology, recently reported that it reviewed nearly 1,500 patients who had ceramic hip replacement surgery and concluded that 49 of those patients (3 percent) experienced audible squeaking.
  • 7%: A study published in the Journal of Arthoplasty found that seven percent of patients who had a total hip replacement using ceramic parts developed squeaking – as well as other symptoms such as popping and grinding.
  • 11%: A recent study published in Orthopedics Today reported that 11.4 percent of patients with ceramic hip implants experienced squeaking well above the average audible range.

Additional studies demonstrated that squeaks from ceramic total hips were likely to be a precursor to hip failure, and further, that the poor construction of the Stryker hip implant cup component enhanced the risk of impingement and the liner fractures.

Stryker Hip Implants Used Ceramics

Stryker's line of Trident PSL and Hemispherical Acetabular Cups were hip implants that used ceramic-on-ceramic components rather than metal-on-metal or metal-on-plastic components were more likely to break down and fail. Patients complained about pain, difficulty in walking, pieces of the ceramic materials breaking off, wearing unevenly and squeaking – the latter of which can greatly affect the quality of a person's life. According to the FDA Stryker received complaints from patients as far back as January 2005 including:

  1. improper seating of hip implants in broached bones resulting in bone fractures,
  2. Trident Hemispherical and Trident PSL cups which failed to function and hip implant components with poor fixation. In some instances, these problems have required revision surgeries, and
  3. squeaking noises of hip implants with ceramic bearing components; some of those problems

Stryker did not take any action prior to the FDA warning in 2007, despite the complaints about problems with its implants. As a result the products remained on the market with the squeaking, and numerous patients required additional surgery repairing or replacing their Stryker implants.

Product liability lawsuits mount

Product liability lawsuits against Stryker Corporation for its defective hip implants have been working through the courts since 2008, and there is still an opportunity for patients injured by the products in this recall. If you or anyone you know has suffered from a defective Stryker hip implant, contact an experienced attorney immediately.

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