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Debatably the Best: Zimmer Durom Cup Hip Implants


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Since its inception in 2003, the Zimmer Durom Cup Hip Implant has seen both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Thousands of surgeries have been performed with it in Europe with an exceptionally high rate of success. In the United States, however, where its sales didn't start until 2006, the implants have been far less successful. Hundreds of patients have experienced problems with their implants that have necessitated further surgery. Lawsuits abound, and the Zimmer Holdings Company has placed American sales on hold until such time as the problems can be ironed out.

Physicians who performed the unsuccessful surgeries claim that the Zimmer Cup is a defective piece of equipment. Zimmer counters with the fact that it has been so successful in Europe and contends that the surgeons must be at fault. They do agree, however, that surgeons have not had access to adequate training in the correct procedures to use if performing the implant and that this lack of training has been instrumental in the failure of the replacement surgeries. With this fact in mind, Zimmer voluntarily suspended U.S. implant sales until a method of training surgeons is in place. Sadly, some surgeons are still blaming the device itself and are unwilling to perform more implant surgeries no matter what kind of training they are offered.

Under the laws of most states, patients who suffer from the effects of defective orthopedic devices are entitled to compensation if the device doesn't perform as expected. These laws state that patients can be compensated for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages if it is the device that is at fault. So, the battle goes on with Zimmer claiming there is nothing wrong with the design of the Durom Cup and with physicians blaming the device for the failed surgeries.

Hip implants have been recorded as early as 1891 if surgeons used ivory fittings in an attempt to replace the femoral head. It wasn't until 1960, though, that a Burmese surgeon, Dr. San Baw, used ivory to try and replace broken hip bones which started the modern era of hip replacement surgery. During a 20-year period Dr. Baw did over 300 hip surgeries and claimed an 88% success rate.

Modern hip replacement devices owe their origin to John Charnley who pioneered a 3-part artificial hip joint. Developed in the 1970s, this device or an adaptation of it was used all over the world for over 20 years. Then, in 2003, Zimmer introduced the Durom Cup which was touted as the best hip replacement device ever created during its initial try-outs in Europe.

Even though the devices and surgical procedures used in hip replacements have come a long way since they were first attempted over 100 years ago, they are still prone to problems. Patients using the Zimmer Durom Cup have most often suffered the effects of their implant slipping. This happens because the device is smaller than the original human joint components. If it isn't implanted correctly, then it may move around. Other complications can be loosening of the implanted joint and infection. Even with the risks, however, doctors still encourage patients who have serious damage in their hip joints to get the surgery done.

Zimmer can only hope to win the lawsuits that have been filed against it and be able to market their Durom Cup more successfully in the U.S. in the future. They still believe that their device can make a positive difference in the lives of many people if used correctly.

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