Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo a surgical procedure called total knee arthroplasty, or TKA. Also known as a total knee replacement, this common and effective surgery has allowed millions of people to get rid of pain and regain lost mobility by replacing a damaged natural knee joint with an artificial one.
Much of the procedure’s success hinges on the quality of the new hardware that’s implanted into the patient’s body, leaving medical device manufacturers such as DePuy Synthes a lot to answer for when things go wrong, such as when implants start failing before their expected lifetime.
Here’s what you need to know about total knee replacement surgeries, including details about the procedure, how implants such as the DePuy Attune Knee System are failing, the symptoms of knee implant failure, and how to get legal help today if your own knee implant has failed.
About Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee joints carry the burden of our body’s weight for most of our entire lives, so it shouldn’t be entirely surprising that they are prone to failure over time. Age-related degeneration, disease processes such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, joint deformity, or complications from a traumatic injury to the leg can all sooner or later result in the inability to stand or walk without severe pain. People in this situation may be candidates for a knee replacement or TKA surgery.
Though a relatively common procedure, TKA is still a serious medical treatment that involves the removal of bone tissue and replacement with a man-made material. During the surgery, the end of the long bone of the thigh (the femur) that forms the top half of the knee joint is removed, and then gets capped with a metal implant that is cemented into place. The top of the tibia (the shin bone) that forms the bottom of the joint is also removed, and is replaced by a metal plate with a grooved plastic surface to fit the top half of the joint.
The patellar bone (kneecap) may also be resurfaced with artificial material on the underside to help complete and stabilize the new joint.
DePuy Attune Knee Implant Failure
Though many TKA procedures occur without difficulties, it’s recently come to light that the Attune Knee System, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Synthes, may have an unexpectedly high rate of premature failure. In an article published in the Journal of Knee Surgery, multiple noted orthopedic surgeons report repeated failures of the cement bond on the tibial component implant, resulting in implant failure within just two years of use.
DePuy itself has also been filing premature implant failure reports with the Food and Drug Administration, as more and more Attune implants show signs of failing well before their expected lifetime of about fifteen years.
Signs of Knee Implant Failure
When a knee implant such as the DePuy Attune fails, there are certain warning signs that may occur. This may include any of the following symptoms, which can occur long after the surgical site has already healed:
- Constant throbbing pain.
- Redness or warmth around the joint.
- Swelling or other signs of inflammation of the knee.
- Inability to hold your weight.
- Knee shifting sideways or backwards when standing or walking.
- Reduced range of motion.
If you experience any of these symptoms or have other concerns that your implant may be failing, contact your doctor immediately to discuss the issue. When a knee implant fails, it can result in severe damage to the surrounding bone, ligaments, muscles, and other tissue. Nerve damage can also occur, resulting in permanently reduced sensation in the lower extremity.
Typically, the only treatment options for a failed implant is a revision surgery to replace the hardware. Revisions are often more complicated, more painful, and more expensive than the original surgery, with more risks for complications and longer healing and recovery time due to the repeated trauma of surgery.
Contact an Attorney Today
If your DePuy Attune Knee System has failed prematurely, you may be able to receive compensation from the manufacturer for your revision surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, lost time and wages, pain and suffering, and more. An attorney with experience handling defective medical device cases can help you with your legal options for relief from your injury.
At Wayne Wright LLP, we’ve spent decades standing up for the rights of patients who have been hurt by dangerous or defective medical devices, and we’re here to help you when you need us. To arrange a free consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, contact us by phone, email, or use the live chat box on our website right now.