Approximately 700,000 knee replacement procedures are performed each year in the United States. The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to relieve severe pain caused by osteoarthritis. People who have trouble walking, going up and down stairs, and getting in and out of chairs are candidates for the surgery.
Knee replacement surgery entails cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap and replacing it with a medical device/prosthesis. Those devices are made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers.
Knee replacement surgery goes well for most patients, but like any surgery, there are risks. So if you had a knee replacement, and the surgery did not go well, you could only sue the doctor if they clearly did something wrong. In other words, you would have to prove they were negligent and that you suffered damages as a result.
However, sometimes the surgery goes just fine, but as time goes on, the device breaks down. There is a need for additional corrective surgery, also known as revision surgery. It could turn out that the doctor did nothing wrong, but there still was some negligence.
Exactech, a company that makes knee and ankle replacement devices, has been in the news recently because they recalled over 140,000 of their devices. The concern is that improper packaging failed to protect their devices from early exposure to oxygen, which can begin oxidation. Exactech says that this oxidation can “severely degrade” the components of the device and can “lead to both accelerated wear debris production and bone loss, and/or component fatigue cracking/fracture, all leading to corrective revision surgery.”
In other words, if you had a knee replacement with an Exactech device, and you had or need revision surgery earlier than expected, you may have a legal case against Exactech. It’s not a medical malpractice lawsuit, but a product liability lawsuit. Damages can potentially work in a similar manner to medical malpractice lawsuits including compensation for future medical care and pain and suffering.
Exactech has recalled about 147,000 devices, all manufactured since 2004. The following devices are included in the recall: OPTETRAK, OPTETRAK Logic, TRULIANT, and VANTAGE. Just because you had one of those devices implanted doesn’t mean that you have a case. What it does mean is that you have a case worth looking in to. Time is of the essence. If you wait too long, you will lose your rights to bring a case. If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney for free to see if you might have a lawsuit, please call us any time at 312-346-5320.