Total knee replacement surgery is big business in the U.S., with approximately 700,000 of the procedures currently being done each year, according to UpToDate. As technology improves, medical device manufacturers are designing knee implants to suit younger and more mobile patients. While these operations can change lives, they can also result in a number of debilitating health complications.
Free Confidential Knee Replacement Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured by a defective knee implant, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our medical devices lawyers can help.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
The knee is made up of a complicated set of tendons, muscles, ligaments, and bones. When the joints become damaged by either progressive arthritis, trauma, or other destructive diseases, it can cause severe pain that limits everyday activities or even moderate to severe pain while resting during the day or night. In these circumstances, knee replacement implant surgery can help restore quality of life.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedics, more than 700,000 total knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and nearly 90% of patients who undergo revision surgery report a dramatic reduction of knee pain following surgery. Knee system implants allow for normal activities and motion and typically last 15 to 20 years or more.
There are more than a dozen manufacturers of artificial knee system implants. A variety of issues can cause knee failures.
Knee Implant Failure Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a failed knee replacement may include:
- Severe pain
- Infection, inflammation, or swelling of the knee
- Damage to the joint, bone, muscle, or nerves
- Loosening of the faulty knee implant
- Popping, clicking, or crunching noises
- Mobility issues such as standing or walking
Knee Replacement Warnings and Recalls
Unfortunately, many artificial joint recipients are finding that knee replacement surgery can cause more harm than good. The biggest increase in number of knee replacement procedures performed each year has occurred in the 45 to 64 age group but most joint replacement devices were created for senior citizens and designed to last only a few years.
Despite changes in potential patient populations, most currently available knee replacements, were not intended to be used for patients that still had several decades of mobility left and were never tested for long-term use. Some of the devices currently in use were never tested at all, but relied on a shortcut approval pathway which allowed for manufacturers to avoid costly testing. Devices approved under the 510(k) pathway have failed at alarmingly high rates, some within one to two years of placement.
A number of knee replacements sold by U.S. manufacturers have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration due to manufacturing defects or high rates of device failure which result in serious injury.
Most recently, in 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a recall for a Zimmer Regenerex knee replacement that appeared to be faulty, but the company had been a prior subject for several FDA recalls. Other manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy, Stryker, and Smith & Nephew also have a history of multiple recalls for their hip and knee implants.
Knee Replacement Manufacturers / Models Named in Lawsuits
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL NAME||WHY PEOPLE ARE SUING|
|Arthrex||iBalance Knee||Loosening, defective tibial tray|
|B. Braun||Advanced Surface ceramic coated knees||Loosening due to cement failure|
|DePuy||Attune Knee System||Loosening and instability|
|Exactech||Optetrack Knee||Excessive wear and premature failure|
|Zimmer Biomet||NexGen Persona||Premature loosening
Loosening due to defective screws
|Stryker||Duracon Unicompartmental Knee System||Pain, instability, restricted motion|
- Arthrex Knee Replacement Suit
- Exactech Optetrak Knee Lawsuit Update
- Exactech Optetrak Knee Class Action Lawsuit
Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement Lawsuits
Zimmer Biomet is currently named as the defendant in more than 700 lawsuits alleging complications from its NexGen knee replacement implants. Cases filed on the federal level have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL 2272)  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. MDLs are used to streamline the litigation process for a large number of complaints naming the same defendant and similar causes of action. After the pretrial phase is complete, each case will be returned to its respective district.
Related Articles: Zimmer NexGen Persona Class Action Lawsuit
Knee Replacement Infections
In addition to cases for unreasonably dangerous and defective knee replacement implants, many individuals have experienced complications due to infections caused by the use of a 3M Bair Hugger warming system, which is commonly used during hip and knee replacement surgical procedures to help control body temperature.
The forced air warming system is found in many operating rooms nationwide, but may cause bacteria and contaminants to enter the sterile surgical site, leading to devastating deep joint infections, which typically require complex treatment.
The Bair Hugger warmer contains a portable heater/blower unit, with a flexible hose that is hooked up to a disposable blanket that is positioned over surgical patients. The forced air warming blanket is designed to deliver warm air onto a patient during an operation to keep the wound area and patient appropriately heated, which reduces the risk of bleeding and shortens recovery times.
According to allegations raised in Bair Hugger knee replacement infection lawsuits, the forced air warming device disrupts the laminar air flow in the operating room. As a result of the manufacturers’ failure to warn consumers and the medical community, cases are being pursued nationwide.
What is Bone Cement?
Polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA, more commonly known as bone cement, is widely used for implant fixation in various orthopaedic and trauma surgeries, according to the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma (JCOT) . As opposed to actual cement, which describes a substance that bonds two things together, PMMA acts as a space-filler that creates a tight space which holds the implant against the bone, similar to grout.
Bone Cement Side Effects
Recent studies have found that knee and hip replacement patients are at risk of developing the following adverse health complications from allegedly defective bone cement products:
- Loosening of implant components and fragmentation
- Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome (BCIS)
- Hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the bloodstream)
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Pulmonary embolism
- Cardiac arrest
Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome
Bone cement implantation syndrome, or BCIS, is a severe complication of knee replacement surgery. As knee replacement has become a much more common solution to knee problems in younger patients, those (particularly those with pre-existing heart problems) may face an increased risk developing bone cement implantation syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of bone cement implantation syndrome include:
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Increased central venous pressure
- Pulmonary edema
- Cardiac dysrhythmia/arrhythmias
- Cardiogenic shock
- Cardiac arrest
- Sudden death
- Fat/marrow emboli
Read more: Artificial Knees May Increase Heart Attack Risk
Can I File a Class Action?
Although Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is a nationally recognized class action firm, we have decided against this type of litigation when it comes to knee replacement surgery. Our lawyers feel that if there is a successful resolution to these cases, individual suits, not class actions will be the best way to get maximum payouts to our clients.
If you’ve been injured by knee replacement surgery, we know you’ve suffered emotionally and economically, and want to work with you personally to obtain the maximum compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.
See the other defective medical device cases our attorneys have covered.
Questions Your Attorney May Ask
What complications have you experienced from your knee replacement device?
The most common knee replacement complications include swelling, pain and stiffness. Rare, more serious complications include loosening, bone or device fractures, infection and the need for revision surgery.
When did you have your knee replacement surgery?
There’s a statute of limitations for knee replacement cases that varies depending on the state in which you live. Knowing when your surgery took place and when you started noticing complications from the device can help your attorney build your case.
What brand is your knee replacement device?
Several knee replacement manufacturers have faced allegations that their knee replacements caused serious complications. Among the brands named in lawsuits are Arthrex’s iBalance total knee arthroplasty system and DePuy’s Attune knee system.
Has a recall been issued for your specific knee implant?
Knee replacement devices have been recalled for a variety of reasons, including faulty design, improper fit, loosening, early wear, packing errors and co-mingled components. Together, DePuy Synthes, Zimmer Biomet, Stryker, Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical have issued nearly 1,000 knee replacement lawsuits.
What have you been doing to manage the pain associated with your knee implant?
Let your knee replacement lawyer know if you’ve been doing physical therapy or at-home exercises to manage your pain. Knee pain can also have an emotional impact on your life, so be prepared to discuss what you’ve been doing to combat the emotional effects you’ve been dealing with post surgery.
Get a Free Knee Replacement Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Medical Device Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers focusing on plaintiffs' representation in knee replacement lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one suffered complications from knee replacements, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical expenses by filing a suit and we can help.