In August 2021, medical device manufacturer Exactech began to recall the polyethylene liners used in some of its knee and ankle implants. These liners were poorly manufactured and prone to degradation, leading to devastating illnesses among patients.
There are several health problems that can be caused by a recalled knee or ankle device, many of which require medical intervention. If you were diagnosed with one of these conditions and believe that your Exactech knee or ankle implant is to blame, you may be eligible for legal action.
Why Were Exactech Knee and Ankle Implants Recalled?
Many people require joint replacement surgery to treat injuries and illnesses that affect the hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles. Exactech manufactures implants that are used in these surgeries. These devices have several components, including polyethylene liners. These liners perform the same function as cartilage; they cushion joints and absorb the impact of movement.
However, many of these polyethylene liners were placed in defective packaging and exposed to oxygen prematurely. As a result, the liners began to degrade and wear down. Exactech’s knee and ankle implants that contain these liners are more likely to degrade inside of patients’ bodies, leading to early device failure and devastating health impacts.
Exactech issued an initial recall for some of its devices in August 2021. However, it expanded the recall to include all knee and ankle arthroplasty polyethylene inserts packaged in non-conforming bags in February 2022. All of Exactech’s inserts manufactured since 2004 were packaged in these non-conforming bags.
Common Health Problems Caused by Recalled Knee and Ankle Devices
Exactech’s recalled knee and ankle implants can severely affect the bones and tissues surrounding the device. Many patients develop serious, sometimes irreversible medical conditions like osteolysis. They often require medical intervention to treat these conditions, as well as surgery to remove and replace the defective implant.
Below are some of the following health problems that can be caused by a recalled knee or ankle implant:
- Bone loss
- Severe pain
- Loosening of the joint implant
- Disintegration of bone cells
- Osteolysis, or a condition where bone tissue is broken down
- Synovitis, or the inflammation of the synovial membrane
These medical conditions often result in long-term complications. In particular, former Exactech patients may experience an irreversible loss of physical strength and mobility, which can have a devastating impact on their quality of life. Patients often experience financial hardship due to the cost of treatment and an inability to work. A knee, ankle, and hip replacement lawyer can help assess your legal options for recovery following a failed implant.
Symptoms of a Degraded Knee and Ankle Implant
Health problems caused by recalled knee and ankle devices are usually related to the loss of bone and the particle debris from the polyethylene liner. Some people may not experience symptoms until their condition reaches an advanced stage.
If you begin to experience any of the following symptoms, it is critical to speak with a doctor as soon as possible:
- Loss of balance
- Pain while walking or moving
- Swelling in the joint with the implant
- Inability to carry your weight
- Clicking in your knee or ankle
- Unusual noises coming from the implant
What to Do If You Have a Recalled Exactech Device
If you have an implant from Exactech that has been recalled, it is important to seek medical attention right away, even if you do not have symptoms right now. Your surgeon may have already contacted you to notify you about the recall.
When you meet with your surgeon, he or she will want to monitor your implant for potential degradation. You may need to undergo X-rays and other tests to assess your bone health and look for any signs of damage.
You may need another surgical procedure to remove or replace the device. Your surgeon will explain the risks and benefits of this surgery and help you make an informed decision. Usually, your medical team will not recommend surgery if you are not experiencing any symptoms or complications.
If you are diagnosed with a health problem because of your recalled Exactech device, you may qualify for a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Many patients across the United States are filing claims against Exactech for the harm that they suffered because of the device.
In these situations, you should speak with an attorney who is currently handling Exactech lawsuits. Your lawyer can evaluate your case, determine your eligibility, and help you take your first steps toward filing your claim.
What Compensation Is Available for Victims of Recalled Knee or Ankle Devices?
In the United States, manufacturers of medical devices have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe and to warn patients and physicians about any potential risks. Exactech failed to package its products in the proper protective bags, leading to the degradation of the polyethylene inserts. Therefore, the company is liable for any physical, emotional, and financial harm that its patients have experienced because of their implants.
As a former Exactech patient, you have the right to file a lawsuit for your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages involve financial losses, while non-economic damages involve pain and suffering. A lawyer can assess your condition and help you understand what forms of compensation you may qualify for.
Below are a few examples of compensation available in lawsuits against Exactech:
- All past and future medical expenses related to the defective implant, including revision surgery and the cost of a new implant
- Lost wages during treatment and recovery and loss of future earnings, in the event that you are unable to return to work
- Disability accommodations that you require because of your condition, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and vehicle modifications
- Pain and suffering, such as chronic pain, permanent disability, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life
Contact an Attorney for Your Exactech Knee and Ankle Implant Lawsuit
If you have suffered from a health problem due to a recalled knee or ankle device, you deserve justice. A lawyer can fight for your right to a fair settlement and secure the compensation that you need to recover from these devastating medical conditions. As soon as possible after your diagnosis, contact an Exactech knee and ankle implant attorney to discuss your legal options.