Knee replacement surgery is a procedure that can help restore function and alleviate pain in knee joints. When the bone or cartilage is damaged or diseased, knee replacements can help improve your quality of life and improve your mobility. This procedure involves cutting away the damaged parts and replacing them with an artificial knee implant.
However, not all knee replacement surgeries are successful. In some cases, the knee implant fails and causes serious complications for the patient. If you have a failed knee implant, you may require corrective surgery to remove and replace the defective device.
Why Do Knee Implants Fail?
There are many factors that could cause a knee implant to fail. For example, high-energy activities like running or jumping can cause the implant to wear out and fail. If a person has a high body weight, the implant will experience more stress when he or she walks on it. Over time, the implant can loosen and become unstable. Infections, leg fractures, and surgical mistakes may also cause an implant to fail.
However, the quality of the implant itself could also lead to a failure. Manufacturers of knee implants have a responsibility to ensure that these implants are of a safe quality. They must also ensure to package and store these implants so they are not exposed to oxygen, which can cause them to degrade.
What Are the Symptoms of a Failed Knee Implant?
A failed knee implant can be extremely painful and affect your mobility. If you experience any of the following symptoms after a knee replacement surgery, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as you can:
- Persistent pain
- Knee instability
- Swelling in the knee joint
- Stiffness in the knee joint
- A decline in knee function
Treatment Options for Failed Knee Implants
When a knee replacement surgery fails, you will need to undergo a second surgical procedure. Revision total knee replacement, also known as knee revision surgery, is the most common type of treatment for this condition.
During knee revision surgery, your failed knee implant will be replaced with a new device. This complex procedure involves careful pre-operative planning and the mastery of specialized surgical techniques.
Before Knee Revision Surgery
When your failed knee implant is diagnosed, you will meet with a surgeon who will perform a thorough exam of your joint. He or she may order x-rays to assess your condition and laboratory tests to determine whether you have any infections.
Your surgeon may also order other imaging tests, including MRI or CT scans. Using these technologies, he or she will identify the position of the failed joint and determine if you have experienced any bone loss. With this information, your surgeon will carefully plan how to extract the old implant and insert a new device.
During Knee Revision Surgery
Knee revision surgery usually takes about two to three hours to perform. There are two steps involved in this procedure: the removal of the existing implant and the insertion of a specialized revision device.
First, your surgeon will carefully take the first prosthetic out of your body. In many cases, failed knee implants result in bone loss. If this is the case, your surgeon will insert bone grafts to fill these areas. If your bone has been severely weakened, he or she may also insert wires, screws, and other devices to strengthen your knee.
Next, the surgeon will insert specialized knee implants to replace the old device. Your surgeon may also place temporary drains in your knee to help prevent swelling and will remove them a few days after the procedure. He or she may also use specialized dressings to help keep the incision area dry and prevent additional complications.
After Knee Revision Surgery
In the days following knee revision surgery, you may be given medication to manage any pain, antibiotics to prevent infections, and other drugs to prevent blood clots. You may also receive a brace or splint to protect the joint following your surgery.
For the first three months following the procedure, you may attend physical therapy to help regain your strength and range of motion. You may require more therapy depending on the status of your condition. Finally, you may also use assistive devices like a walker or crutches.
What to Do If Your Knee Implant Was Defective
In many cases, knee implant failure is caused by defective and dangerous medical devices, not by the actions of the patient. If you believe that your knee implant was defective, you may qualify for a lawsuit against the device’s manufacturer. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to consult with an attorney.
By filing a knee implant lawsuit, you could secure financial compensation to help pay for any losses that you experienced, such as additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, you will need to establish that the device caused your failure and necessitated your knee revision surgery.
Certain knee implants, such as those manufactured by medical device company Exactech, have been recalled because they have repeatedly failed due to a defect. In the case of Exactech, the manufacturer failed to package these implants in conforming bags, accelerating the process of oxidation. As a result, they degraded and caused significant complications for patients.
You may be eligible to pursue a lawsuit if your knee implant is part of a medical device recall. To secure a fair settlement in your claim, you will need to prove that you suffered from a failed knee implant; that the device was defective; and that the device’s defect caused your injury.
Consult with an Attorney About Your Defective Implant Claim
If you suffered from a failed knee implant and believe a manufacturer’s mistake is responsible, it is important to speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible. A knee and hip replacement defect attorney can help you identify whether you qualify for litigation and secure a fair settlement for your damages.
Depending on where you live, there is a limited window of time in which you could file a defective device lawsuit. To protect your right to compensation, contact an attorney as soon as possible after your implant failure to discuss your next steps.