When patients were told they were receiving a Zimmer knee replacement, many believed the Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement would last a long time and would solve their knee problems. Unfortunately, certain Zimmer knee implants have been linked to serious problems, including failure of the knee requiring revision surgery. This has resulted in hundreds of lawsuits being filed. Joint replacements are expected by both patients and doctors to last years after the implant surgery takes place. But according to some reports, certain Zimmer knee implants are not lasting nearly as long as they should, and that early failure rate has resulted in pain, lost wages and revision surgery for some patients.
The Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex was marketed as being superior to other knee implants because it was designed to give patients a larger range of motion than the original NexGen. The NexGen CR-Flex comes in both a cemented and uncemented version (the uncemented version fuses to the bone without the aid of a bonding agent). The implants were supposed to last around 15 years, but, in some patients, failed in a year or less, after the implant failed to fuse properly to the bone. In other cases – those involving the cemented version – the problem has been blamed on isolated debonding, in which the implant comes loose from the adhesive and bone.
The lawsuits filed against Zimmer allege the patients suffered severe pain and in some cases were forced to undergo revision surgery to replace the implant. Plaintiffs accuse Zimmer of manufacturing a defectively-designed knee implant and failing to warn consumers about the risks associated with the NexGen. Patients who have pain in their knee or feel their implant may have failed can request a bone scan, which will show signs of loosening if there are problems with the device. An x-ray is not equipped to show replacement device failure.
At last count, Zimmer was facing approximately 800 lawsuits that have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation. Initially, 18 lawsuits were transferred to the Northern District of Illinois. But by December 26, 2010, another 775 lawsuits were added to the multidistrict litigation – and more lawsuits are still being filed. In addition to undergoing revision surgery, patients say they have missed work – and lost income – because of the pain from the knee, and because of the time required to recover from the surgery. Zimmer multidistrict litigation is MDL No. 2272. If you need more information on this subject, contact Navan Ward, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, who is handling Zimmer cases, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Navan.Ward@beasleyallen.com.
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