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In 2009, the FDA approved a new hip replacement system known as the Conserve Plus System, which is manufactured and sold by Wright Medical Technology, Inc. Claiming to be an approach to hip replacement that would provide pain relief and consistent and smooth range of motion for an active lifestyle, the Conserve Device doesn’t seem to be living up to expectations.

Since 2009, the FDA has received over 200 adverse event reports related to the Conserve Hip Implant System. And now, a number of lawsuits have emerged related to the premature failure of these metal-on-metal hip implant devices.

At issue in these cases are two specific Conserve devices: the Conserve Plus Total Hip Replacement System and the Conserve Plus Resurfacing System. The total replacement system has four components: a metal femoral stem, metal femoral head, metal modular neck and the metal Conserve cup. The resurfacing system has two components: the metal femoral head cap and the Conserve Plus metal acetabular cup. Both systems are intended to be used as a hip-replacement implant when a patient’s hip joints are damaged or diseased as a result of fractures, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and avascular necrosis.

The common component in both systems—and what is at the heart of the lawsuits—is the “Conserve cup”, which is a cast cobalt chromium molybdenum piece that holds the metal femoral head, mimicking the natural movement of a hip joint. It is that unlined cobalt part that is allegedly causing serious harmful effects to patients who receive the implant device. The problem is that these two metal components cause the release of metal particles around the hip joint and surrounding tissue. As a result, a high percentage of patients have developed metallosis and biologic toxicity and are experiencing a high and early failure rate of the device.

In this sense, the litigation over the Conserve hip replacement systems are very similar to the DePuy ASR recall that came out in 2010 and that sparked a wave of litigation across the country. Both are metal-on-metal hip replacement systems that carry big risks for the receiving patient. The constant frictio of the two metal components and the resulting release of metal particles is causing patients to suffer metallosis, tissue necrosis, pseudotumors and other complicating conditions that result in severe pain and discomfort. Instead of an increased quality of life, patients are suffering more and have less mobility.

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