Over 700,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the U.S. and while most of these surgeries are successful, thousands of patients are harmed by their artificial knee replacement joints. Device manufacturers are facing thousands of knee replacement lawsuits for injuries caused by their implants.
Knee Replacement Lawsuit
Knee replacement is the most common joint replacement surgery performed in the U.S. and the number of replacement procedures is increasing each year. An aging population, increasing numbers of overweight Americans and a desire to remain active later in life, are factors which may quickly drive the number of knee replacement surgeries to well over 2 million procedures annually.
Many patients underwent placement procedures, assuming their device was safe, based on the recommendations of their doctors and the device manufacturers and are now seeking compensation for injuries through knee replacement lawsuits. Knee joint device manufacturers may be facing hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits filed by people who were harmed by their devices.
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 devices, 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 in fact, 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 replacement devices 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 FDA issued a recall for a Zimmer Regenerex knee replacement device 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 knee replacement implants.
These failures or defects have resulted in harm to thousands of patients each year.
Knee replacement device manufacturers whose products have been subject to FDA warnings or recalls and who may be facing lawsuits include:
DePuy Synthes (Johnson & Johnson)
Smith & Nephew
Knee Replacement Side Effects and Injuries
Knee replacement systems were intended to improve mobility and quality of life in patients whose knees have been injured or which have worn out due to use or aging. While most patients may experience relief of pain and increased mobility, others have experienced serious adverse events.
Complications which arise after knee replacement may include:
- Pain, bruising or swelling of knee
- Infection of knee joint
- Blood clots in lower leg
- Nerve and blood vessel damage
- Dislocation of knee joint
- Fractures in bone surrounding implant
- Particle shedding from device structure
- Osteolysis or bone death and dissolution due to particle shedding
Some of these side effects are mild to moderate and may be resolved with treatment. Others may be severe or life-threatening. In cases where serious or severe complications have occurred, knee revision surgery may be required.
Knee Replacement Revision Surgery
When knee implant failure has occurred, or when a patient develops serious complications, a knee revision surgery may be required. Revision surgery will remove the failed or faulty knee implant and replace it with another new joint device. In some cases, multiple surgeries will be required to repair and reconstruct damaged tissue.
A knee replacement revision surgery is a more costly and invasive procedure which places the patient at increased risk. Patients may experience more pain and be subject to a much longer recovery period.
What can a knee replacement attorney do for you?
Medical device manufacturers can be held accountable for injuries caused by their devices and implants. People or family members of those who have suffered from severe side effects or complications due to injury by a medical device such as a knee replacement implant may be eligible for compensation to pay for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. In some cases, victims may receive payment for punitive damages as well, when it can be proven the company knew about faults or risks of their devices but continued to sell them anyway.
A knee replacement lawyer can evaluate each case and determine if you may be eligible for compensation. Medical injury settlements are based on individual injuries and damages that are caused by a faulty medical device. Though each case is different, as an example of other medical injury cases, in 2013, about 8,300 DePuy hip replacement lawsuits were settled for $2.5 billion, with each patient receiving an average of than $300,000. To date, no large knee settlements have been publicly announced but many manufacturers may be facing thousands of lawsuits for knee replacement products.
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered complications from a knee replacement device or were required to undergo knee revision surgery, you should seek legal advice.