Unfortunately for many recipients of the Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant
who are suffering chronic and severe pain, there is no way to stop this pain other than a risky and painful revision surgery. Although not all Stryker implant recipients will experience pain, those that do have likely suffered tissue necrosis resulting from corrosion or fretting of the device. When Stryker recalled the Rejuvenate in July of 2012, they stated the potential of this corrosion and fretting at the neck juncture which could lead to metal ions being released into surrounding tissues or the bloodstream. Later, it was found that in addition to the potential corrosion at the neck juncture, the metal trunnions, located on either end of the neck piece, could also suffer corrosion when body fluids became trapped beneath.
Because doctors were accustomed to finding corrosion between the ball and cup of other metal-on-metal hip implants, many times they would open up their Stryker patients, find no corrosion where expected, and close them back up, chalking up their pain complaints to aging or other health issues. The patient would continue to suffer pain, frustrated by the inability of their doctor to alleviate that pain. Due to the Rejuvenate’s design, which incorporates a ceramic ball, there is not nearly as much metal surface area to create corrosion and metal ion release as in the all-metal implants. This leads many doctors and patients to become complacent about the Rejuvenate despite its recall, believing the Rejuvenate implant is not responsible for the pain they are experiencing.
Any level of cobalt and chromium
which becomes lodged in the hip tissues can cause the tissues to begin to die—a phenomenon which is not reversible and will only continue to worsen. Similarly any level of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream can be dangerous, and will not simply go away. The patient who is experiencing pain from the results of corrosion of the Rejuvenate hip implant may have no choice but to undergo a revision surgery. The primary issue with the Rejuvenate revision surgical procedure is that—unlike the relatively simple revision procedures for the ASR or Pinnacle—it can be expensive, potentially dangerous, and requires a much longer recovery time.
In the case of the Pinnacle revision surgery, the surgeon will open up the patient and replace the metal liner—a fairly minor surgery lasting fifteen to twenty minutes. An ASR revision surgery requires the surgeon to open up the patient and replace the acetabular cup. The Rejuvenate, however, must be entirely removed in order to reach the metal trunnions connecting the neck to the stem. The stem would have been implanted deeply into the femoral bone during the original hip replacement surgery and during the revision surgery will have to be dug away from the bone. In some cases this can cause the femur bone to break into many pieces.
If this occurs, the surgeon will be required to literally band the bone back together with metal bands before implanting the new hip system. In some cases rebuilding the bone may not even be possible, leaving the Rejuvenate recipient in a wheelchair for the remainder of their life. The Rejuvenate revision surgery can take from 4-5 hours, increasing the risk of blood loss and infection, and the recovery time, even under the best of circumstances, can be six weeks or more. Make no mistake, however; if you are experiencing pain from your Rejuvenate it is likely you will have few options other than to consult your physician about having a revision surgery.