Active Seniors Have No Patience for Allegedly Problematic Zimmer Knee Implants

by admin on March 14, 2011

Active Seniors Have No Patience for Allegedly Problematic Zimmer Knee Implants

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Home Page > Law > Personal Injury > Active Seniors Have No Patience for Allegedly Problematic Zimmer Knee Implants

Active Seniors Have No Patience for Allegedly Problematic Zimmer Knee Implants

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Posted: Mar 14, 2011 |Comments: 0

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One would understand the attraction of a Zimmer knee lawsuit at the behest of a patient with an allegedly failing knee implant. Especially in light of the fact that ‘today’s 80 is the new 60.’ Seniors today are active, vibrant and not content to retire to the sofa. So when an artificial knee designed and expected to last upwards of 15 years begins to fail after two, little wonder people start running—gingerly—to their lawyer.

The Zimmer NexGen knee system has been around since 1994—implanted in millions of patients worldwide and at least a half-million in the US. To that end the NexGen system generally has been a good performer for all concerned—Zimmer, surgeons and the patients who benefit from them.

However one product in the Zimmer knee replacement family is allegedly problematic: the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral component. Studies have shown that the product could potentially have a high failure rate.

A feature report in the New York Times last June put the spotlight on a version of the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement system that is designed to be used without cement. Other products in the Zimmer family cement the device to the thighbone. However, out of concern for the potential for cement to break down over time and have an adverse impact on the device, a version was designed that would rely on the bone naturally fusing to the device, without cement.

As reported in the New York Times on June 19th of last year, a noted surgeon and a former consultant with Zimmer, Dr. Richard A. Berger, implanted the cement less device in about 125 patients in 2005. However, within the next year X-rays revealed in some patients lines where the implant met the thigh bone—an indication that the device had not fused completely to the bone.

Zimmer claimed, according to the report, that Berger’s surgical technique was to blame. Dr. Berger, however, suspected a flaw with that particular Zimmer knee replacement product and undertook a study with a colleague and fellow surgeon, in order to prove his theory.

It should be noted, according to the New York Times article, that Zimmer was able to introduce the cement less Zimmer NexGen knee to the market without clinical trials, thanks to a loophole in FDA regulations (US Food and Drug Administration) which allows for a medical device to be approved without resorting to clinical trials if it is substantially similar to something already existing on the market.

Zimmer noted that only 2 percent of all its NexGen knee products are the cement less variety. Nonetheless, for patients affected by a loosening knee implant so soon after surgery, a Zimmer knee lawsuit seems a reasonable response.

About the Author:
Gordon Gibb is a multi-dimensional writer on medical cases. He regularly writes on medical malpractice issues, defective product cases and other drug/medical related issues.
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