Knee and Hip Design Defects

The Nature of the Devices: Both the natural aging process and a specific injury can degrade knee and hip joints. As a result, Zimmer, Inc., Stryker, Corporation, DuPuy Orthopaedicts, Inc., and other companies manufacture hip and knee replacements; they are made wholly of metal, of metal and ceramic, or of metal and plastic.

All knee replacements have tibula, fibula, and patella (knee cap) components that perform the same functions as a real knee joint. Knee-replacement parts may be cemented to adjoining leg bones or work without cement.

The Hazards of Knee and Hip Replacements: The chief problem with knee and hip replacements is erosion of the prosthetic material. Metal-on-metal hip joints in particular, can erode, introducing metal particles into the patient’s blood stream. Defective knee and hip joints can damage surrounding tissue, as well as bone that the replacement is attached to. Defective hip replacements can cause tissue and bone damage, infection, pain, and loss of mobility, with revision surgery possibly being required.

Both cemented and un-cemented knee replacements pose risks. The cement can break off bits of leg bone; an un-cemented replacement can loosen. Some knee-replacement designs expose the patient to higher risk of revision surgery to replace the implant. And additional surgery requires recovery time, and poses the usual health risks of hip and knee replacement. The DuPuy Sigma knee replacement, for example, was recalled several years ago because of its high revision rate.
Defective knee replacements expose patients to other health risks as well, such as infection, pain, reduced mobility, and swelling. Damage to bone, joints, muscles, or nerves can also occur.

As a result of these problems, many hip and knee patients have sued manufacturers such as Stryker and DuPuy over defects in their products.

To Obtain Legal Relief: People who have been injured by a defective knee or hip replacement may have valuable legal rights. Attorney Stephen A. Katz is available at (800) 251-3529 for a free consultation, or for legal representation.