A percentage of patients who received Zimmer NexGen knee replacement devices experienced unexpected problems that could lead to the destruction of the implant. According to a Dow Jones Newswires report, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, presented the findings of their study on the Zimmer NexGen knee implants at the meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

For the purpose of this study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic looked at 1,373 total knee replacements performed at their center between 2000 and 2011. They looked at surgeries performed using a specific type of tibial component. According to the abstract, 3.9 percent of the knees failed for a variety of reasons. About 50 percent of the failures were attributed to a problem where the implant becomes loose from the surrounding bone. More than 80 percent of the failures occurred due to “isolated debonding.” This is where the implant comes loose from the cement. The researchers say this has not been seen before with other knee implants examined at the Mayo Clinic. However, it is not clear how widespread this problem is.

Recent Studies Highlight Failure Rate

Other recent studies have also raised questions and concerns about the effectiveness and safety of these potentially defective products. In March 2010, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons announced that the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Knee Replacement’s failure rate is close to 9 percent. This is substantially higher than what would be considered “normal.”

According to this study, a number of patients experienced loosening of the implants not due to the surgeon’s error, but due to multiple manufacturing defects in the device. The study’s lead author, Dr. Richard Berger, noted that this failure rate for knee implants is unacceptably high. In addition to getting revision surgery, patients have also experienced side effects such as knee pain and swelling, decreased mobility, knee stiffness and limping.

Product Liability Issues

Consumers who have not been adequately warned about these defective devices pay a steep price in terms of medical expenses and the pain and suffering they undergo. Had Zimmer properly tested their implants before putting them on the market, the injuries and the suffering patients have endured need not have taken place. If you or a loved one has been injured or had to undergo revision surgery because of a defective Zimmer NexGen knee implant, please contact an experienced defective medical devices lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.