As one of the largest, most powerful joints in the body, the knee is capable of supporting the body’s weight while also enabling mobility. Over time, however, the knee joint can break down, as daily wear and tear, trauma and overuse deteriorate the knees’ cartilage and tendons. Knee replacement surgeries are invasive procedures in which damaged bone tissue is removed and replaced by durable implants.
Ideal candidates for knee replacement surgeries include patients who have ligament and/or meniscus tears, osteoarthritis and/or rheumatoid arthritis. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that about 270,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. Roughly 70 percent of these procedures are performed on patients older than 65 years old.
Knee Implant Devices
Prosthetic knee joints vary according to the type of motion they provide. In general, knee implants are classified as one of the four following types of devices:
- Non-constrained: As the most common type of knee implant, this device is composed of multiple components that are not attached to each other. Instead, they rely on the body’s muscles and ligaments for stability and movement.
- Semi-constrained: These implants provide more stability than non-constrained implants and may be used if all of the inner knee ligaments are removed in the knee replacement surgery.
- Constrained: Also referred to as “hinged”, constrained implants are those in which the two main components are hinged together. Constrained implants may be used when no other type of implant can provide patients with adequate knee stability.
- Unicondylar: These implants only replace half of the knee and, as a result, can function with the healthy half of the knee that remains intact.
Problems with Knee Implants
About 96 percent of all knee replacement surgeries are successful. In rare cases, however, patients may develop serious side effects due to problems with their knee implant. Some of these complications have been reported to include:
- blood clots
- deep vein thrombosis
- excessive bleeding
- fracture of the knee bones
- nerve damage
- loosening of the device from the bone (which can be a complication of a poorly performed surgery, poor bone quality, a patient’s weight and activity levels, and the type of implant used)
- loss of knee motion
- loss of sensation at the site of the implant.
- patellar complications (problems with the knee caps)
- severe allergic reactions
Have you or a loved one developed complications as a result of using knee implants? If so, you will likely have a viable product liability claim, and will be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. To discuss your potential case with an experienced products liability lawyer, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates today. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping injured patients and their families recover compensation for their losses and are standing by to help you.