Depuy Knee Lawsuits - Consumer Justice Foundation

Depuy Knee Lawsuits

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Defective knee implants can cause life-altering side effects in patients, sometimes making revision surgeries necessary. If you have been affected by a defective knee implant, contact a defective product attorney today.

Artificial knee implants are medical devices intended to provide patients suffering from knee pain or instability with renewed mobility and relief from pain, but in some cases, knee implants fail prematurely, exposing the patient to devastating complications like chronic pain, loss of mobility and infection injuries. When knee implants fracture, loosen or otherwise fail, the resulting consequences can be devastating and costly for the patient and his or her family. Besides sometimes requiring additional surgeries to replace the defective knee implant, patients with artificial knee implants may also suffer from severe side effects like bone loss or infection, and may even experience their knee implant becoming loose or detaching. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of a defective knee implant, contact a product liability lawyer to discuss your options for legal recourse.

Alternatives for DePuy Artificial Knee Implants

Knee replacement surgery is a major operation, and defective knee implants manufactured by companies like DePuy Orthopaedics can cause debilitating injuries for patients, and may result in the need for additional surgeries to remove or replace the faulty knee replacement system. In response to concerns about the risk of artificial knee implant side effects, many patients are now looking for alternatives to total knee replacement surgery that may offer the same or similar benefits, without the added risk of complications. The following are some possible alternatives to DePuy knee implants:

  • Specialized braces to transfer weight from weaker points in the knee where the cartilage is worn, to areas where the cartilage is stronger
  • Arthroscopy to smooth out and trim away worn cartilage in the knee joint
  • Osteotomy to remove or add a wedge of bone to the tibia or femur, to shift body weight off the damaged portion of the knee joint
  • Cartilage transplantation to transplant portions of the knee bone with healthy cartilage to portions of the knee where cartilage has been damaged
  • Knee fusion (arthrodesis) to cut flat the ends of the femur and tibia and secure them together with pines, screws or plates

What is a DePuy Knee Implant?

Artificial knee implants designed to repair damaged knee joints that may expose patients to severe injuries like chronic pain and the need for additional surgeries.

DePuy Orthopaedics was founded in 1895, as the first commercial orthopedics company in the United States, and the company has developed more than a dozen knee replacement systems in the years since, including the Sigma, LPS (Limb Preservation System) and LCS (Low Contact Stress) Complete product lines. In 1998, Johnson & Johnson acquired DePuy for $3.7 billion, and in 2011, the company merged with orthopedic manufacturer Synthes, establishing the DePuy Synthes Companies of J&J. Today, DePuy knee implants are used in hundreds of thousands of knee replacement surgeries worldwide, and in 2010 alone, DePuy secured $923.5 million in knee implant sales.

In recent years, DePuy has been plagued by knee implant recalls and problems, and in January 2012, the company voluntarily pulled some of its custom devices from the market, after receiving a warning from the FDA that the devices did not have proper approval for commercial sale. In February 2013, DePuy recalled its LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve, a component of a knee implant used in the Limb Preservation System (LPS), after receiving reports of the implant loosening or fracturing during normal everyday use. According to the recall announcement, DePuy’s LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve was used in knee replacement surgeries to enhance the fit of the artificial knee with the patient’s femur, but was tied to an increased risk of implant fracture and other complications. Other potentially defective knee implants include the following:

  • Zimmer NexGen LPS, CR and MIS
  • Zimmer Natural Knee System
  • Biomet Vanguard CR
  • Smith & Nephew Oxinium Genesis II and Profix II
  • Smith & Nephew Journey Uni Tibial Baseplate
  • Stryker Scorpio CR and PS components
  • Stryker Duracon Total Knee
  • Stryker Unicompartmental Knee System

Possible Side Effects Leading to a DePuy Knee Implant Lawsuit

There are a number of side effect risks associated with defective knee implants, including infection, bone loss, and the potential for the implant to loosen or detach. Defective knee implants can cause serious pain and may result in the need for revision surgery, which may lead to costly medical bills, a significant recovery period, and time away from work. Defective knee implants can also cause damage to the tissues surrounding the joint, resulting in problems that may be more harmful than those that the original implant was meant to correct. Revision surgery in and of itself can be painful and expensive, and some patients never return to the level of mobility and function they would have enjoyed had the original implant worked the way it was intended to. Some common symptoms of knee implant failure include the following:

  • Loose knee joint
  • Instability when walking
  • Knee pain and swelling
  • Inflammation or redness in the knee
  • Warmth
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased walking ability
  • Clicking or grinding sounds in the knee

Possible complications associated with a defective DePuy knee implant include infection, severe pain, nerve damage, loss of limb, amputation of the limb, and the need for revision surgery.

Link Between DePuy Knee Implants and Side Effects

Over the years, several types of artificial knee implants have been recalled due to severe side effects, some of which may render a patient far worse off than if he or she had never had the implant to begin with. In 2001, DePuy Orthopaedics recalled the Hylamer Polyethylene Bearing Surface knee implant, after studies found that about two-thirds of the implants failed within five years. Also in 2001, Sulzer Orthopedics recalled its knee implant systems after discovering that the implants were contaminated with a lubricant that interfered with their ability to adhere to bone. In 2003, Smith & Nephew recalled its cementless Oxinium Genesis II and Profix II knee implants after the company found that the implants failed to bond to bone properly, resulting in loosened implants. At the time of the recall, about 3,000 people had already received an Oxinium implant, and by 2005, 782 of the defective knee implants had been replaced through revision surgery.

In 2004, Encore’s Foundation Knee System and 3DKnee System were recalled because of a mislabeling issue that led to the Foundation knee implants being labeled 3DKnee, and 3DKnee implants being labeled Foundation. In the years since, there have been a number of additional recalls of defective knee implants and instruments used during knee replacement procedures, including:

  • DePuy LCS Knee Implant-Meniscal devices (10mm inserts labeled and etched as 12.5mm inserts)
  • DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral Component (a substance used in manufacturing lodged into joint surfaces, causing pain and swelling in patients)
  • DePuy PFC Sigma Knee Systems (the products didn’t have proper FDA approvals)
  • Smith & Nephew TC-PLUS, VKS, and RT-PLUS (higher than specified iron content)
  • Encore Foundation Knee System Tibial Fixed Impactor (for reports of a screw fracturing during surgery)
  • Encore 3DKnee Tibial Insert Trial (marked incorrectly for thickness)
  • Zimmer NexGen Complete Knee Solution MIS Total Knee Procedure Tibial Broach Impactor (could fracture during use and leave metal fragments in the patient after surgery)
  • Zimmer NexGen Complete Knee Solution articular surface insertion instrument (could fracture during use)
  • Stryker Scorpio CR and PS components, Unicompartmental Knee System and Duracon Total Knee

Lawsuits Against DePuy for Implant Failure, Implant Fracture, Infection and Other Injuries

2010 – An Australian woman who received a total knee replacement in 2008 sues J&J and DePuy on behalf of all patients who received a defective DePuy LCS DuoFix Femoral implant.
December 2012 – DePuy agrees to settle claims brought by hundreds of Australian patients who were implanted with the DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral knee implant, which was recalled in 2009.
July 2014 – A man from Hawaii files a lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics, alleging that his DePuy Sigma knee implant failed within 15 months of being implanted.

FDA, DePuy Knee Implants and Side Effects

July 2009 – DePuy and Australian health regulators recall the DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral knee replacement, due to an increasing number of patients requiring revision surgery to replace the implant.

August 2009 – A Class 2 recall is issued for a component of DePuy’s PFC Sigma Knee System, due to a risk of cracks forming on the “lateral side of the condyle in the posterior chamfer region.”

December 2011 – The FDA sends a warning letter to DePuy Orthopaedics, indicating that some of the company’s knee implants do not have the proper approvals for commercial sale.

January 2012 – DePuy issues a voluntary recall of its PFC Sigma Knee Systems and other custom devices, after the FDA warned the company that it had failed to seek FDA approval for commercial sale.

February 2013 – An urgent Class I recall is issued for the DePuy LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve component of the Limb Preservation System, due to reports of failure, including implant loosening and fracture.

August 2013 – The FDA issues a Class I recall for another component of the DePuy Limb Preservation System, the Lower Extremity Dovetail Intercalary component, which can fracture under normal physical loads.

Artificial Knee Implant Studies

2011 – A group of researchers from Australia finds that new artificial knee and hip implants are not more durable than older, less expensive models (30% less so), and some, like DePuy’s recalled Sigma knee implants, have higher-than-normal revision rates.

November 2012 – A Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery study comparing the clinical outcomes of patients implanted with the Sigma and LCS Complete knee implants finds that the Sigma design is prone to serious complications, like excessive wear, knee instability, joint problems, and considerable bone loss if revision surgery becomes necessary.

September 2013Research examining the results of 77 patients implanted with one or more PFC Sigma knee implants report complications, including bone loss, knee instability, and the need for revision surgery, after an average follow-up of roughly 12 years.

2014 – A detailed report from the National Joint Registry for England, Wales and Northern Ireland highlights “a higher revision rate following partial knee replacement and isolated replacements of the patello-femoral joint.”

Why We Think DePuy Orthopaedics Should Be Held Liable for Defective Knee Implants

Every year, more than 1.1 million people in the United States undergo surgery for a hip or knee replacement, believing that the artificial implant will help relieve their pain and improve their mobility. In fact, medical device makers like DePuy Orthopaedics market their knee implants as safe and effective, despite the fact that the devices have been linked to serious complications in implant recipients, including chronic pain, loss of mobility, long-term disability, and the need for revision surgery to remove or replace the device. DePuy and other knee implant manufacturers are legally responsible for marketing their medical devices properly and accurately, and providing consumers and the medical community with adequate warnings about their risks. Consumers who believe they have been injured by defective knee implants are pursuing legal claims against DePuy Orthopaedics, alleging that the company:

  • Designed and sold defective products
  • Failed to adequately research its knee implants
  • Marketed its products as safe and effective despite a risk of serious injuries
  • Failed to adequately warn the public about the risk of complications from knee implants
  • Failed to issue knee implant recalls in a timely manner
  • Knew or should have known about the potential for the devices to fail prematurely

What should you do? If you have suffered injuries allegedly caused by a defective knee implant, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss filing a DePuy knee implant lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect allegedly associated with a defective knee implant like DePuy’s LCS or PFC line of knee replacement devices, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable defective knee implant attorney. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses, which you can pursue by filing a product liability lawsuit against the allegedly negligent manufacturing company. Compensation for defective knee implant injuries may include medical expenses, physical therapy and rehabilitation, disability, lost earning capacity, special equipment, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of future income. You are not at fault for any adverse side effects caused by a defective knee implant. By hiring an experienced defective knee implant lawyer, you can pursue the compensation you deserve and protect yourself from further harm.

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