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.
Not Every Medical Injury Is Considered Malpractice
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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 Is The Difference Between A Total And Partial Knee Replacement
A total knee replacement is when surgeons resurface bones in all parts of the knee joint. The end of the femur, the patella and the top of the tibia will be resurfaced, and ligaments supporting the knee might be left in place or removed depending on their condition. Existing cartilage is normally replaced with a plastic cushion.A partial knee replacement resurfaces one or two sides of the knee, called either a unicompartmental or bicompartmental procedure. These procedures can range from replacing the end of the thigh bone with metal and resurfacing the back of the patella to removing bone from the tibia to take weight off the damaged part of the knee.
Understanding Knee Replacement Lawsuits
Between 2012 and 2017, more than 744,000 knee placement and revision surgeries took place in the United States. Knee replacement surgeries are generally considered safe. However, painful and debilitating complications can arise. Many of these problems occur because of defective knee devices. Some devices have been recalled by manufacturers because they caused so many problems for patients.
Medical device implants are difficult to repair, replace or remove. Patients who suffer serious side effects may require additional surgeries or other treatments.
Knee replacement lawsuits claim that medical device companies failed to warn patients about potential dangers. Plaintiffs seek legal damages to pay for treatment, costs of the device, lost income, and other expenses related to problems with the device.
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Important Facts About Exactech Knee Replacement Devices
Total knee replacement surgeries generally enjoy a high success rate, and the knee replacement devices used can last for twenty years or more before they need to be replaced. These devices are made out of plastic or metal and are anchored to the bones in the knee joint. Some of the problems that people have reported to the Food and Drug Administration about Exactech knee replacement devices include:
- The device becoming loose from where it was anchored or no longer securely attached
- The materials used in manufacturing the device beginning to deteriorate, causing minuscule but potentially harmful particles to float loose in the body
- Other potential design and/or manufacturing defects that render these devices unsuited for use by patients and doctors
Parker Waichman LLP strongly believes that medical devices such as Exactechs should be constructed with safety and longevity in mind. Exactechs knee replacement devices do not pass this test, putting patients health and safety at risk. These risks and injuries are what led to an Exactech knee recall and class action lawsuits.
Why Are Some Exactech Knee Replacement Components Recalled
Exactech knee implants have been recalled due to faulty packaging that was used during shipment and storage. Company officials say implants lacked an important packaging barrier. This barrier was supposed to keep oxygen from coming in contact with the inserts. However, it lacked a special layer with additional protection against oxygen.
Without the extra protective layer, oxygen could pass through the implant packaging. The oxygen could then cause certain components to break down earlier than expected. Patients receiving these implants could experience complications and need to have revision surgery.
Exactech recently issued a recall notice for Optetrak, Optetrak Logic and Truliant knee replacements. According to this notice, doctors have implanted more than 140,000 of these knee devices since 2004. This means tens of thousands of patients may have problems related to Exactech knee implants.
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How Long Do I Have To Sue Exactech For My Defective Ankle Or Knee Implant
Generally speaking, patients who received defective Exactech knee replacement devices have four years to file a lawsuit against the company. This limitations period runs from the date that patients learned, or reasonably should have learned, that they had a claim against the company for a defective medical device.
Do You Have A Case For A Knee Replacement Lawsuit
If you had a knee replacement, and youre now experiencing extreme discomfort, you may have a case for a knee replacement lawsuit. If you arent sure whether youre eligible, give us a call. Were here to helpand we wont charge one single penny for your consultation. If you do have a case, well start working tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
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Knee Replacement Lawsuits: Loosening Pain And Recalls
When a person decides to have a knee replacement, their quality of life has diminished to the point where they chose to give up past enjoyments such as sports or recreational activities to live free from persistent pain. After seeking out the best options and doctors and trusting the implant to complete its function to the safest possible extent, they do not expect the potential for leaching of metal fragments or faulty devices in an increasingly common surgery.
Knee Replacement Revision Surgery Lawsuit
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.
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Why Did Exactech Recall Its Knee Replacement Devices
In short, the Exactech recalled ankle and knee implants due to packaging failure. The packaging failure exposed the medical devices to too much oxygen before surgeons implanted them into patients bodies. Oxidation basically breaks down the polyethylene insert in medical devices like hip and knee implants. As a result, patients can experience severe pain and other complications, eventually causing them to undergo knee revision surgery.
Depuy Asr Hip Replacement Lawsuits Could Face Statue Of Limitations
The DePuy ASR XL Acetubular Hip System was recalled by its maker on August 24, 2010, following complaints about the devices metal-on-metal components and alleged corrosion. This is one of a number of different manufacturers products currently facing lawsuits over possible design defects. Nationwide, thousands of lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation for serious injuries allegedly caused by hip implants and now, in some states the statute of limitations could mean affected patients are running short on time.
The statue of limitations for filing claims against DePuy may be approaching.
A statue of limitations imposes a cutoff point by which lawsuits must be filed, and prevents legal action for alleged violations that happened too far in the past. Some state laws set a basic three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims based upon product defect allegations meaning that three years after an incident occurs, or after it becomes reasonable for an individual to know about it, legal action becomes impossible.
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How Did Knee Implants Get Approved By The Fda
The first knee replacement implants were proposed in the 1880s, when a German surgeon suggested that ivory implants held in place with cement could replace damaged knee joints.
Modern knee replacement research picked up in the 1950s, with the development of replacement joints using metallic components. In the 1970s, researchers first debut knee replacements that allowed for the preservation of the posterior and anterior cruciate ligaments.
Recent innovations in knee replacement implants have focused on allowing for greater range of motion, so that younger patients can stay more active.
The experienced attorneys at McIntyre Law are now handling knee replacement lawsuits. Let us help you.
How Do I Know If I Have A Medical Malpractice Case
Simply because your knee replacement surgery did not go as well as you had hoped does not mean that you can or should sue your orthopedic surgeon for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when your surgeon or other medical professional fails to live up to the medical standard of care in his or her field, under the circumstances.
Except for clear-cut cases, it is very difficult to predict ahead of time whether your surgeon actually committed malpractice in the eyes of the law — there is no easy formula because a jury must decide that question after hearing conflicting testimony from knee surgery experts for both sides.
If you have any of the common symptoms and side-effects listed in the previous section, chances are your surgeon or some other medical professional warned you of those risks before the surgery. As long as nothing out of the ordinary happened to cause nerve damage, for example, then your “informed consent” probably protects the surgeon from medical malpractice liability.
On the other hand, if you are positive you were never warned of the risk that you are now suffering and you would not have agreed to the surgery if you knew of risks, then you might be able to sue for lack of informed consent. However, depending on your state, if the surgery was a good medical decision regardless of adequate consent, you may lose your case.
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Exactech Ankle & Knee Replacement Recalled Products
- Optetrak® All-polyethylene CR Tibial Components
- Optetrak® All-polyethylene PS Tibial Components
- Optetrak® CR Tibial Inserts
- Premature wear or device failure
- Revision surgery
Due to product failure, victims of faulty Exactech hip, knee, and ankle replacements may have to endure costly revision surgery to repair and/or replace the faulty product.
Knee Replacement Facts By The Numbers
1/5: the ratio of people who experience a complication as a result of a knee replacement
9/10: the number of implants lasting 15 years after being implanted
1: the total number of pounds a knee replacement weighs
50-80: the age range for most people receiving a knee replacement
65.9: the average age for a knee replacement in 2014, reduced from 68 in 2000.
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Who Typically Gets Knee Replacements
More than 98% of patients who undergo total knee replacement surgery are 45 or older. The procedure is most common for people 65 and older. However, younger people make up an increasing percentage of knee replacement patients.
The average age for knee replacement patients dropped significantly from 2000 to 2010. Knee replacement surgeries performed on people aged 45-64 tripled from 1999 to 2008.
Most knee replacements only last a decade or two before wearing out. This means these younger knee replacement patients are likely to outlive their devices and will eventually require revision surgery to replace them.
What Are Some Common Symptoms Of A Failed Knee Replacement
The symptoms of failed knee replacement vary depending on the original cause of the failure. Generally, a failed knee replacement can cause:
In most cases, revision surgery is usually required to fix a faulty knee replacement.
However, knee revision surgery is not only painful but also intrusive. Additionally, it can bring your life to a halt for a while. For example, if a knee infection is detected, you may undergo revision surgery twice.
The first procedure will remove the faulty knee implant. After that, you’ll have to wait for a particular period to give the infection enough time to heal. After healing, you’ll undergo another surgery to replace the faulty joint. This process is medically referred to as the two-state exchange arthroplasty.
Back to the original question of whether you need a lawyer for a faulty knee replacement, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why.
Knee problems are frustrating and painful to deal with. Simple tasks, such as standing or walking, can be extremely painful. That’s the whole point of having surgery.
And, when you go in for surgery, you hope that you’ll come out feeling better, not worse. That’s where the importance of hiring an attorney comes in.
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How Can W& l Help You
Consulting with an attorney experienced in handling lawsuits for defective medical devices can help you understand your options. Weitz & Luxenbergs Defective Drugs and Medical Devices Litigation Unit has both the experience and the resources to handle complex litigations against powerful corporations.
The general public should not be test subjects for unproven new devices. We believe companies who rush unsafe products to the market should be held accountable.
It would be our privilege to help you obtain justice for the injuries youve suffered.
Did Exactech Obtain 501k Clearance From The Fda
Yes, and this may be a partial explanation as to why so many Exactech devices have failed. 501k clearance basically shortens the FDA approval process. Companies who register their products for 501k clearance do so because they believe that their products are safe and effective. Therefore, the companies believe their products dont need to go through the whole FDA approval process to determine safety and effectiveness. Had Exactech medical devices gone through the whole FDA approval process, maybe they wouldve discovered the packaging failures that led to oxidation and breakdown.
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What Components Of A Knee System Are Prone To Fail
The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and artificial knee systems consist of multiple components that work in tandem and support one another. When one of these components loosen, crack, or prematurely wear out, it can cause the rest of the knee replacement to fail, ultimately leading to knee revision or replacement surgeries and long term pain.
There have been a number of knee replacement recalls issued in recent years, after manufacturers discovered problems with specific components that may increase the risk of pain, swelling, infection and other complications.
The four major knee system components of an artificial knee that may fail include
Femoral component: The femoral component replaces the end of your thigh bone and is typically made of durable metal or ceramic options since it moves the most.
Tibial component: The tibial component replaces the top surface of your shin bone and is usually made of softer metal or plastic.
Patellar component: The patellar component replaces your kneecap and is a dome shaped plastic.
Plastic spacer: This sits between the tibial and femoral components to allow a smooth, gliding surface and better flexibility.
Damages For Exactech Knee Recall
If you file a lawsuit for your Exactech knee implant failure, you could recover the types of damages listed below.
- Medical Bills associated with your original knee replacement surgery and your revision surgery.
- Physical Therapy Bills associated with your original knee replacement surgery and your revision surgery.
- Lost Wages if your surgeries forced you to take time off work.
- Loss of Earning Capacity if your knee pain prevented you from accomplishing some of your normal work duties.
- Physical Pain and Suffering associated with your surgeries.
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Other Knee Replacement Lawsuits
Long before the NexGen lawsuits, Sulzer Medica paid $1 billion to settle about 4,000 knee device lawsuits. This settlement came before the company was acquired by Zimmer in 2003. Problems with the production of Sulzer’s Natural Knee II Tibial Baseplate caused a small amount of oil to be left on the device. This led to post-implantation problems and adverse effects following the surgery. The company had issued a recall on the knee component in 2000.
Zimmer Biomet currently faces the most lawsuits, but other companies have also faced individual and class action lawsuits due to defective products. Some of the brands involved in complex litigation include:
- DePuy Synthes Attune Knee System
- Exactech Optetrak Knee Replacement
- Duracon Unicompartmental Knee
- Stryker ShapeMatch Cutting Guides
Individuals who have suffered complications from these devices should consider legal action.
Product liability lawsuits related to knee replacements differ from medical malpractice lawsuits.