Most knee replacement surgeries are successful, but up to one-third of patients experience chronic pain, limited mobility, ongoing complications, and regret. As with most surgeries, general risks include infection and blood clots. However, thousands of knee replacement patients are now suing device manufacturers, alleging that defective design and failure to warn about potential dangers are responsible for ongoing misery and medical costs.
Should You File a Knee Replacement Lawsuit?
A knee replacement lawsuit is an option to help injured patients cover the cost of knee revision surgery or replacement, physical therapy, pain medication, and related treatment expenses.
Complications listed in these lawsuits mention a wide range of adverse side effects such as:
- Achy joints
- Blood clots
- Chronic pain
- Clicking and popping sounds
- Joint loosening
- Nerve and tissue damage
- Range-of-motion issues
- Stiffness and swelling
Most of these side effects can be traced back to problematic designs. Implant loosening, in particular, can occur when there is a bad fit between the patient’s anatomy and the device, causing premature wear and tear. Knee replacements should last at least 15-20 years, but some revision surgeries are required within one year.
Metallosis – a rare form of metal poisoning – can occur when metal implant components rub against one another, releasing tiny metal particles into the bloodstream. The symptoms of metallosis are wide-ranging, and include everything from heart failure, neuropathy, skin rashes, and thyroid issues, to depression, anxiety, psychosis, and cognitive deficits.
Can You File a Knee Replacement Infection Lawsuit?
Joint infection is a rare condition affecting less than 2 percent of knee replacement patients; however, if you’re in that 2 percent, you know it is one of the most debilitating and serious complications possible. Infections can be caused by sterility issues within the surgical suite or manufacturing facility.
In order to bring a successful knee replacement infection lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to provide the court with specific evidence of manufacturer or physician negligence, such as a widespread recall due to contamination.
Sulzer Medica (later bought by Zimmer) agreed to pay $1 billion to settle 4,000 claims that their hip and knee implants were contaminated by dirty oil residue during the manufacturing process, which caused bonding failure, loosening, and infection.
Depuy Knee Replacement Lawsuit
In 2018, there was a class II recall of the DePuy SIGMA HP PFJ Cemented Trochlear Implants due to “an elevated rate of revisions.” More than 7,500 patients received these devices, which caused poor joint mechanics like malalignment, instability, and dislocation. Patients who needed revision surgery to remove the device may be eligible to file a Depuy knee replacement lawsuit, alleging that the manufacturer’s design was defective.
Zimmer Knee Replacement Lawsuit
You may be eligible to file a Zimmer knee replacement lawsuit if you were fitted with any of the following hardware:
- Zimmer NexGen Complete Knee Solution LPS Femoral Component
- Zimmer NexGen Complete Knee Solution LPS Flex Gender Femoral Component
- Zimmer Persona Trabecular Metal Tibial Plate Knee implants
- Zimmer Biomet polyethylene joint components
As the NY Times reported in 2010, orthopedic surgeon Richard A. Berger used to work for Zimmer, designing surgical tools and joint products for the company in addition to performing over 1,000 joint replacement surgeries a year. When Berger noticed a problem with the NexGen products, Zimmer dismissed his warnings, forcing him to go public with a study revealing a 9% failure rate that was well above the typical 1%.
Signs of premature loosening were observed in another 36% of patients, according to his research. Zimmer blamed surgical techniques, but Berger said the implants were defective because they did not require cement to bond the thigh and femoral components as comparable devices do.
Shortly thereafter, the FDA issued a Class 2 recall of the NexGen Complete Knee Solution tibial components due to hundreds of revision surgeries and another class 2 recall for the NexGen Complete Knee Solution femoral components due to a “nonconforming internal CAM radius.”
Smith & Nephew Knee Replacement Lawsuit
Smith & Nephew Oxinium Genesis II and Oxinium Pro-Fix II devices — offered from January 2000 to September 2003 — were recalled after improper bonding triggered infection, joint damage, muscle injury, and failure in as little as two years. According to the manufacturer, 30 out of 3,000 people with these implants required revision surgery after premature loosening. It took the company six years to initiate a major global recall of nearly 40,000 affected units.
Knee Replacement Lawsuit Settlements
While no outcome can be guaranteed, knee replacement lawsuit settlements have garnered hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for some injured patients. The court takes into consideration tangible costs like medical bills and lost wages, as well as subjective measures of pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Contact Showard Law Firm to learn more about your individual right to file a knee replacement lawsuit. Your case may be subject to state statute of limitations rules, so it is best to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to explore your claim.