When implant devices fail, it is often difficult to tell whether the implant manufacturer or the doctor who performed the implant surgery is at fault. That’s the case for a new set of recalls involving Zimmer’s NexGen knee implants. The New York Times reports, in fact, that this dilemma came to a head last year, when one of Zimmer’s high-paid consultants said that the complications were likely a result of NexGen’s design, not doctor errors. This debate will likely have a serious impact on potential lawsuits against the popular Zimmer NexGen knee implant model.
The NexGen knee implant model is unique in that one of the main components is not cemented to the bone. Instead, the femoral component is made up of porous coating that is designed to fuse with the thigh bone and encourage additional bone growth. Unfortunately, says former Zimmer consultant Dr. Richard Berger, this design causes excessive pressure that prevents the thigh bone from fusing at all, leaving it susceptible to complications and even revision surgery.
In May of 2010, a group of prominent researchers presented a study at the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons showing that an alarming nine percent of NexGen knee implants required revision surgery and 36 percent of patients with un-cemented NexGen knee implants reported knee loosening. Following additional investigations, the MIS Tibial and LPS Femoral components were recalled in late 2010.
If Dr. Berger turns out to be right, and the knee implant complications were, in fact, the result of a design flaw, then the Zimmer NexGen knee implants could be the newest in a line of defective products that have led to recalls and even lawsuits. After last fall’s voluntary recall of DePuy hip implant models, lawsuits have piled up against the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. So if you or someone you know received a NexGen knee implant, consider seeking more information on the Zimmer NexGen knee implant recalls. We’ll keep you posted on additional developments.
Photo credit: mikebaird