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Stryker Howmedica

A hip replacement surgery can leave a patient with months of recovery, in addition to the hospitalization, rehabilitation, large amount of discomfort, and relearning how to walk with the implanted hip. Stryker Howmedica Osteonics specializes in orthopaedic implant products, including hip replacement surgeries. There are around 20 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, which can often times occur in the hip joint. If the cartilage wears down enough, hip implant surgery may be necessary.

An estimated 150,000-200,000 hip implants are performed every year in the U.S. Stryker Howmedica Osteonics has been making joint replacement implants for over 20 years. In September 2001, the FDA announced a hip implant recall due to a potential fracture problem. The hip implant recall involved eight U.S. firms, including Stryker Howmedica Osteonics. The recall was issued after the French manufacturer St. Gobain Desmarquest received reports that the zirconia ceramic femoral head component was fracturing at a higher rate than expected.

The patients that responded adversely to recalled hip replacement components experienced feelings of sudden pain in the implanted hip joint that was sometimes right after an audible pop noise from the hip. A hip implant surgery is a major surgical process, and the affected recalled components sometimes required another surgery. Companies with zirconia ceramic femoral heads, including Stryker Howmedica Osteonics, estimated that less than 6% of U.S. hip implant procedures are performed each year, which accounts for an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 surgeries.

Patients that had to deal with the news that their hip replacement surgeries involved a recalled component had strong feelings of negative emotions. Each additional surgery has increased risk and a smaller chance of recovering as well. Lawsuits were filed after the zirconia ceramic femoral head recall involving the eight U.S. firms such as Sulzer Orthopedics. Since hip and knee replacements are the most common surgeries, the number of patients affected by a hip replacement recall can be extremely high.

In February 2003, the FDA approved two new ceramic implants, one of which was by Stryker Howmedica Osteonics. The Stryker Howmedica ceramic implant consists of a ceramic ball that fits into a ceramic lined socket, verses the standard hip implant consisting of a metal ball and plastic socket. Research has indicated that ceramic hips will last longer than traditional implants. Since each additional operation becomes more complicated and less likely that the implant will not last, improvements are always being sought.

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