Knee Implant Lawsuits
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) reports that nearly half of Americans develop knee osteoarthritis in at least one knee during their lifetime. Total knee replacement surgeries offer a solution to chronic pain and immobility, and have helped thousands enjoy more active lives.
In 2014, there were 680,150 total knee replacements performed. By 2030, that number is projected to grow by over 600 percent to 3.5 million procedures per year. Studies show that more than 90 percent of people who have knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in pain.
Unfortunately, some knee replacement devices have not performed as expected, and instead of helping people, have hurt them instead, causing them to suffer additional injuries on top of their original knee arthritic problems.
Patients rely on medical device manufacturers to create reliable and effective products that work as advertised. When they are injured because a company failed to warn about the risks associated with a product, or because a company failed to conduct appropriate clinical trials to ensure safety, they deserve justice.
Chaffin Luhana’s experienced knee replacement attorneys fight for the rights of patients wrongfully injured by medical devices. We are now reviewing cases in which patients trusted manufacturers of knee implant devices and then suffered from serious injuries requiring risky revision surgeries.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
When the knee joint is damaged by arthritis, normal daily activities can become difficult. Though medications, injections, and lifestyle changes may help for a while when the damage gets to a certain point, walking, climbing stairs, and even just resting can create excruciating pain.
When patients are suffering on a regular basis, doctors are likely to recommend knee replacement surgery. Simply put, this is a procedure in which the natural knee joint is replaced by a synthetic one, to help relieve pain and restore mobility.
During the surgery, the doctor removes any damaged cartilage and bone at the end of the thighbone (femur) and the top of the tibia (shin bone), then inserts replacement components to recreate the surface of the joint. These are usually made of metal materials, and are either cemented or press-fit into the bone.
Next, if needed, the surgeon may cut and resurface the kneecap (patella), replacing it with a plastic piece. Finally, a plastic spacer is inserted in between the metal components, recreating the smooth gliding surface of the original knee.
Some Knee Replacement Implants Linked with Increased Risk of Complications
Though many knee replacement devices work well, some have been found to be defective and to create higher-than-expected risks of failure and revision surgery. Symptoms that something is going wrong with the implant include the following:
- Inflammation and chronic swelling
- Pain and stiffness
- Difficulty walking and engaging in other activities
- Loosening of the implant
- Implant fracture or breakage
- Weakening of bones around the implant
- Deep joint infections
All of these issues typically require a second surgery to correct the problems and replace the defective components. Revision surgeries are always more risky than the original surgeries because they take longer to perform, and the presence of damage in the bones and/or tissues can make it more difficult to create a properly repaired joint.
Implants for revision surgery are also different—usually larger and thicker to provide extra support. Recovery from these surgeries takes longer than recovery from traditional surgery, and some patients never regain the mobility they had before.
Knee Implant Manufacturers Sued Over Defective Devices
Though any manufacturer may be sued over a knee replacement injury, some have had to defend hundreds to thousands of lawsuits because of products that didn’t perform as expected. They include the following:
Biomet merged with Zimmer in 2015. Makers of the Vanguard CR knee replacement system, Biomet has had problems with the kneecap components of this device. In 2017, they recalled the Regenerex 3 Peg Series A Patella components—part of the Vanguard system—because the pegs could break off, filling the joint area with metal debris and resulting in premature loosening and implant failure. The problem could also lead to metallosis, or metal poisoning, which can cause symptoms like nerve damage, visual and hearing impairments, and cognitive impairments.
This company makes the iTotal G2 knee replacement system, and has faced claims brought in court because of it. There have been reports of the spacer in the implant loosening prematurely, and of the tibial tray loosening. These problems lead to complications including immobility, bone damage, and the need for revision surgery.
Makers of the Attune Knee System, DePuy gained FDA approval of the device in 2010. The FDA later received a number of reports related to the device loosening and failing prematurely. In a 2017 study, researchers found that the Attune devices had a high rate of debonding (loosening) of the tibial-cement interface. This loosening caused patients to suffer from pain and decreased range of motion within just two years of surgery. The researchers added they believed the problem to be underreported.
Smith & Nephew
This company makes many knee replacement products, including the Oxinium Genesis II, the Profix II, and the Journey models. They recalled both the Oxinium Genesis II and Profix II devices in 2003 after discovering a design flaw that prevented proper bonding, leading to premature loosening and failure.
In 2010, they announced a recall of 40,000 defective Journey II Uni Tibial Baseplates in the Journey device because they were vulnerable to breakage. In 2014, they issued a hazard alert warning surgeons that the femoral implant in the Journey Bi-Cruciate Stablised (BCS) knee replacement system was experiencing higher than expected revision rates when compared to other knee replacements.
Makers of the Triathlon and Scorpio knee replacement devices, Stryker also made the Stryker ShapeMatch Cutting Guides. These were intended to help surgeons position the Triathlon knee replacement components correctly and guide the marking of the bone before cutting.
The company recalled the devices in 2012 after becoming aware that there were potential issues associated with them, mainly caused by manufacturing defects. Surgery using these guides could result in joint instability, fracture, pain, and mobility limitations.
Makers of the Persona and NexGen knee replacement system, Zimmer has had problems with these devices. They recalled one component in the Persona system—the Trabecular Metal Tibial Plate, which fit over the top of the shin bone—in 2015 because of reports that it could cause problems requiring revision surgery. At the same time, the company recalled the Persona Tibial Articular Surface Provisional Shim, which was a tool surgeons used during knee replacement surgery.
Zimmer has also recalled certain components of its NexGen knee replacement system, including the following:
- In 2010, nearly 70,000 MIS Tibial components were recalled because of risks of premature loosening.
- In 2010, femoral components used in the NexGen LPS system were recalled because of manufacturing defects.
- In 2014, about 40,000 NexGen knee replacements were recalled because of defective screws.
Zimmer faces lawsuits concerning these devices.
Experienced Knee Replacement Lawyers
The experienced knee replacement attorneys at Chaffin Luhana understand that you are not responsible for medical expenses incurred because of a medical device that failed to perform as expected. A thorough investigation of your case can help determine if you may be eligible for compensation. Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed concerning these devices, and our attorneys are prepared for the strategies manufacturers often use to try to avoid responsibility.
If you or a loved one was implanted with a knee replacement device that later failed and required revision surgery, call us today for a free consultation. Chaffin Luhana is now investigating these cases, and will not charge you unless we recover damages for you. Call today at 1-888-480-1123.