Knee replacement is a fairly common procedure, and unfortunately, knee replacement lawsuits are becoming just as common. The number of people undergoing surgery to install a knee replacement device has doubled over the last ten years. That increase is even higher in people aged 45 to 64 and with the Baby Boomer generation aging and joining the ranks of those in need of surgery, joint replacement is a $7 billion industry.
Unfortunately, many are finding that knee replacement surgery causes more harm than good. Many joint replacement devices were designed to last only a few years. These products were created for senior citizens and not intended to ever be used for patients that still had several decades of mobility left. Most devices have never been tested for long-term use, but many patients underwent placement procedures, assuming their device was safe, based on the recommendations of their doctors and the device manufacturers.
There are even instances in which the safety of a device has not been tested for short-term use. Medical device manufacturers have the option of applying with the FDA for the 510(k) premarket program that allows them to bring a device to market with limited testing, as long as there is a similar product already on the market. Many knee replacement devices approved through this program are now failing at an alarmingly high rate.
Faulty Knee Replacement Devices Trigger a Variety of Medical Expensive and Painful Complications
Patients with faulty or failed knee replacement devices suffer a variety of medical issues, including:
- Persistent pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Device failure with five years
- Nerve injuries
- Fracturing, chipping, or migration of device components
- Potentially life-threatening infections at the joint
Many experience chronic pain and revision and repair procedures are not even enough to return their lives to normal. They are worse off with the knee replacement devices than they were prior to placement.
Knee Replacement Lawsuits
In response to the complications suffered by many knee replacement recipients, lawsuits have been filed against joint replacement device manufacturers.
One such case was filed by Monica Hunsinger after she was implanted with Zimmer’s NexGen device in 2009. Within two years Hunsinger was experiencing complications and needed revision surgery. During the procedure, she suffered intraoperative bleeding and needed to be transferred to another hospital for an additional operation – an operation that would not have been needed, her attorney argued, had her implant worked as she was promised
Hunsinger’s is not the only case like this and hundreds of plaintiffs have filed a knee replacement lawsuit alleging their devices did not work as promised and caused them to suffer loosening, cracking, and failure. To date, more than 600 lawsuits have been filed against Zimmer seeking compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, home health care, loss of income, pain, suffering, and permanent disability.
The company was also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Securities & Exchange Commission claiming it bribed surgeons to use its products with paid consulting agreements. Zimmer paid nearly $170 million to settle those charges.
Many Knee Replacement Device Manufacturers Dealing with Lawsuits
Zimmer is not the only company facing legal action because of its faulty knee replacement devices. A DePuy device showed a failure rate of nearly 68% within five years and is the subject of several investigations. Other companies have issued recalls on a variety of devices, including:
- Stryker: Scorpio CR and PS components, Unicompartmental Knee System, Duracon Total Knee
- Smith & Nephew: Oxinium Genesis II, Profix II, Journey Uni Tibial Baseplate
- Biomet: Vanguard CR
What are the Benefits of Filing a Knee Replacement Lawsuit?
Anyone that files a knee replacement lawsuit is likely suffering a variety of medical complications related to their device, including:
- Inflammation or knee swelling
- Joint damage
- Bone, muscle, or nerve damage in the knee area
- Popping, clicking, or crunching sounds near the device
- Issues with walking or standing
People who have undergone knee replacement surgery and are suffering complications can never fully regain what they have lost. However, filing a lawsuit can help to ease the financial burdens caused by a malfunctioning device and can provide a sense of justice.
Knee replacement lawsuits also serve to warn potential recipients before it is too late. Lawsuits draw attention to the products in question and can trigger action faster than might occur when the FDA or manufacturer itself is conducting an investigation. Lawsuits define product defects and help consumers and medical professionals determine if there is cause for concern.