If you are one of the millions of Americans who has had a hip or knee replacement in recent years, there is a good chance your doctor used bone cement to secure the artificial joint. Primarily composed of a synthetic resin called Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), surgical bone cement is a bonding agent that is commonly utilized to anchor prosthetic joints, including elbows and shoulders.

While cement fragmentation and foreign body reaction to debris are two of the most common bone cement side effects, a number of other complications have left patients in agony and prompted a wave of litigation based on theories of product liability.

Regardless of whether your complications from bone cement necessitated revision surgery, Showard Law Firm is here to explain your rights to legal recourse. Manufacturers of bone cement owe a duty to ensure their products have been tested for safety, and to caution patients about all possible risks.

When this duty has been breached, and injury or death results, victims can sue for a variety of damages to cover lost income, hospital expenses, rehabilitation costs, disability, as well as pain and suffering.

Serious Bone Cement Side Effects

Many orthopedic surgeons prefer a high viscosity bone cement for artificial joint replacement, as this has a shorter mixing time and provides more time for application. Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price. Evidence suggests that higher viscosity cements are more prone to debonding, or premature failure, ultimately causing the prosthetic joint to loosen.

The loosening or displacement of the prosthesis is typically associated with a sudden onset of pain, swelling at the surgical site, bursitis, decreased range of motion, joint instability, and mobility problems.

Acrylic bone cements can also leak into surrounding tissue, veins, and nerves, causing severe inflammation and damage. Other adverse side effects linked to surgical bone cement include:

  • Transitory drop in blood pressure
  • Inflammation of the vein, causing blood clots
  • Wound infections
  • Temporary cardiac irregularities
  • Formation of new bone
  • Trochanteric (where the femur and hip meet) separation

If you or a loved one has suffered any of these side effects, it’s in your best interest to consult with a bone cement lawyer at Showard Law Firm. Aseptic loosening of a hip or knee replacement caused by faulty bone cement that fails to bond correctly may require additional surgeries to repair the damage. Historically, these revision surgeries are much riskier and result in even higher rates of complication.

Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome (BCIS)

Of all possible complications from bone cement usage, BCIS is the most dangerous and tied to high mortality rates. Bone cement implantation syndrome is relatively rare, and most commonly observed in hip replacement procedures. The exact causes of the syndrome are unclear, but it is believed to occur when the cement exerts pressure on the bone, releasing marrow, fat, and PMMA into the bloodstream.

Patients who have pulmonary hypertension, poor cardiac function, and osteoporosis are at greater risk of developing BCIS shortly after the cement is applied.

BCIS results in a number of clinical features, which are life-threatening and may result in death:

  • Blood clots
  • Hypotension
  • Hypoxia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Fat and/or marrow emboli
  • Cardiac arrest

A 2014 study on bone cement implantation syndrome published in the British Medical Journal found 62 reports that describe severe harm or death associated with the use of bone cement in hip hemiarthroplasty. Nearly 80 percent of the patients died while on the operating table.

Consequences of Bone Cement Complications

When bone cement fails, causes aseptic loosening, or leads to BCIS, the ramifications can be devastating to patients and their families. Persistent pain, loss of mobility and independence, and the prospect of a high-risk revision surgery are not something that victims should bear alone. Complications from bone cement can put tremendous financial strains on the patient and their loved ones, causing more medical bills, emotional anguish, and a loss of enjoyment of life.

The legal system affords remedies to patients whose conditions and overall health have worsened because of dangerous medical products, and an opportunity to seek justice and fair compensation.

Explore Your Legal Options with Showard Law Firm

Showard Law Firm handles complex injury claims stemming from medical devices and products that have been proven defective and unreasonably dangerous. We believe that the public has a right to be warned about the possible side effects of surgical bone cement – serious problems that can compromise their health and quality of life.

If you have experienced pain, swelling, mobility issues, and other bone cement complications, you may qualify for legal compensation from negligent manufacturers. Call Showard Law Firm to schedule a free, confidential consultation to explore your options for filing a bone cement lawsuit. Our services are offered on a contingency-fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless a settlement or verdict is secured in your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, Bone Cement https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880950/
  2. Imaginis, FDA Warns About Possible Complications of Cement Used to Treat Spinal Fractures https://www.imaginis.com/osteoporosis-news/fda-warns-about-possible-complications-of-cement-used-to-treat-spinal-fractures
  3. AANA Journal, Understanding Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome https://www.aana.com/docs/default-source/aana-journal-web-documents-1/understanding-bone-cement-implantation-syndrome-december-2018.pdf?sfvrsn=ec2a56b1_4#:~:text=Bone%20cement%20implantation%20syndrome%20(BCIS,transient%20desaturation%20or%20mild%20hypotension.
  4. BMJ, What is the risk of death or severe harm due to bone cement implantation syndrome among patients undergoing hip hemiarthroplasty for fractured neck of femur? A patient safety surveillance study https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/6/e004853.full