Is Knee Replacement Bone Cement Failing?
Innovations in knee replacement bone cement mean operations can now be carried out more quickly than before. However, there may be a serious downside to this technology amid concerns the new method is less robust and more likely to fail.
Instances of bone cement failure have resulted in lawsuits across the country.
A typical case is that of Gay Carol Manning who filed a lawsuit against the giant pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopedics Inc in Louisiana in 2015.
Manning claimed she received a total knee replacement in 2003 and suffered no ill effects for a decade.
In December 2013, she underwent a revision surgery to replace some of the components of the implant with new material provided by DePuy Orthopedics Inc. including bone cement with an antibiotic additive to prevent infection.
Manning claimed that soon after the revision procedure she suffered swelling and severe pain in the knee. She took pain medication. Manning said the impact was so serious it impacted her ability to walk.
She claimed the bone cement failed to meet manufacturer guidelines and did not stick to her bones causing a painful instability in the knee implant.
Other patients have claimed knee replacement bone cement failed with agonizing consequences requiring further surgery.
In recent years, high viscosity bone cement (HVC) has become more popular with patients. It is quicker to mix and waiting times for knee replacement are shorter. HVC bone cement affords longer working and hardening phases. Surgeons are given more time to handle and apply the cement than with low- or medium-viscosity cements.
However, there is a potentially very serious downside of HVC bone cement which may be less strong.
Complications associated with knee replacements using HVC include loosening and debonding, the painful process in which an implant fails to adhere to the cement interface of the thigh or the shin bone, requiring more surgery.
When bone cement fails in a knee replacement, the effects are often the same as the knee replacement failing.
The Potential Side Effects of Failing Knee Replacement Bone Cement
Patients who are suing manufacturers may have experienced the following serious symptoms:
- Instability and loosening in the knee
- Ongoing pain
- Unusual swelling
- Reduced motion
- Increased instability in the knee
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
Many people who claim to have been injured by a wide range of pills and medical devices are currently suing Johnson & Johnson.
In 2017, we noted Johnson & Johnson faces at least 17 trials in state and federal courts in mass tort actions. Five J&J products – Xarelto, Baby Powder, Risperdal, metal-on-metal hips and transvaginal mesh – are blamed for serious injuries and deaths.
Bloomberg reported the total number of pending claims against J&J rose to 100,000 and is growing rapidly. It’s unusual for a drug company to have so many cases pending against it.
Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $1 billion verdict in 2016 over metal-on-metal hip implants and an earlier $72 million verdict in a case linking its talcum powder to ovarian cancer.
The extent of knee replacement bone cement failure is not yet clear. However, we know that well-publicized cases are often the tip of the iceberg. Often new products are rushed into use without adequate testing.
Metal-on-metal hips caused untold pain and misery for thousands of recipients of hip replacement operations worldwide and the fight for justice continues.
In 2017, The Guardian highlighted how thousands of British patients who received “metal-on-metal” hip implants were recalled for a battery of tests, including MRI scans and blood tests, due to concerns over toxicity.
About 56,000 patients received these devices in the United Kingdom. The hips have since been linked to an increased risk of bone and muscle damage as metal has leaked into the bloodstreams of patients.
The patients were given questionnaires, blood metal tests and scans to find out if metal particles sheared off the implants and ended up in surrounding tissue. Revision surgery is often required in these cases.
In the United States, lawsuits against artificial hip manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Stryker are ongoing.
The ease with which drug companies can get their products on the market is truly alarming. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been accused of failing to police this area properly while big pharma often puts profits before patient safety.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by knee replacement bone cement or another medical device or dangerous drug, please call our experienced Virginia attorneys today at (757) 455-0077.