Knee replacement surgery is becoming more popular as Americans are living longer, more active lives than ever. In 2007, there were approximately 700,000 knee replacement surgeries performed. In 2012, more than 4.5 million had gotten a knee replacement. But is knee replacement surgery safe?
There is no question knee replacements offer many benefits Many enjoy more active lives with a new joint. However, some people have suffered serious consequences from the surgery and need followup surgery. Several knee replacement devices have been the subject of lawsuits and recalls. One of them is the Stryker knee replacement devices.
If you have a Stryker knee replacement and have suffered pain and other complications, you may be entitled to compensation in a Stryker knee replacement lawsuit.
Common Stryker Knee Replacement Problems
Many people who have had Stryker knee replacements have painful side effects and complications. Some patients have needed painful and costly revision surgeries to replace a flawed or broken device. These procedures carry their own risks and can lead to more damage and pain. Even if another surgery corrects the problem with the Stryker implant, the person may never feel quite the same again.
The most frequent problems with a failed knee replacement are:
- Persistent, severe pain
- Damage to muscle, bone, and nerves
Unfortunately, knee replacement device failure is common; it happens frequently with younger patients in particular. Younger patients tend to wear out the devices and some fail only within a few years.
Common Reasons for Knee Replacement Recalls
Medical device manufacturers issue recalls of knee replacement implants for many reasons. Some recalls may be due to simple matters of improper packaging, but others may involve defective components that can cause serious injuries. Common recall issues for knee replacement joints are:
- Poor design: An improper design may cause fractures in tools or implants. Some tools have a flawed design that can cause them to fall into the surgical site.
- Improper fit: An implant can be damaged if a surgeon forces the device into place in the hip joint.
- Loosening: Some replacement joints can loosen over time and require revision.
- Early wear: Metal or plastic parts may wear much faster than expected.
- Co-mingled components: Parts of the right and left knee may be mixed and cause surgical complications.
Stryker Knee Replacement Recalls
Stryker has had 125 knee replacement-related recalls since 2003. One of them was when FDA issued a Class I recall for the Stryker ShapeMatch Cutting Guide device in 2013. Cutting guides are used by knee replacement surgeons to position device components and mark the bone.
Before the recall, Stryker acknowledged there were problems with its cutting guides. At one point, Stryker told surgeons to not use the products.
The recall was because faulty software could lead to a wider cutting range than desired.
The range cut may not meet the surgeon’s surgery planning parameters that are entered through a Web application. Also, another software defect could cause the displayed parameters for resection depth, cut angle and related parameters to not match the actual cutting guides produced.
The defective ShapeMatch Cutting Guides could cause the patient’s Triathlon knee replacement to have the following problems:
- Serious pain, joint instability, and limited motion
- Misaligned joint
- Fracture, loosening or joint failure
- Revision surgery to replace joint
Stryker Knee Replacement Lawsuit and Settlements
Stryker Corporation was required to pay a $7.6 million product liability settlement in 2016 for the Duracon Unicompartmental Knee. The ruling by the Sixth US Court of Appeals ended 15 years of litigation. Stryker attempted to get its excess liability insurance company, TIG Insurance, to pay for the settlement of 70 Stryker knee replacement lawsuits going back to 2000.
Also, there has been Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) created for Stryker knee replacement lawsuits. In late 2013, Judge Brian Martinotti ordered the initial phase of mediation for the MDL set up in New Jersey.
The purpose of an MDL is to streamline dozens or hundreds of similar lawsuits and to promote consistent rulings in different lawsuits that deal with similar legal issues. MDLs are often effective for complicated cases involving dangerous drugs and medical devices.
In the New Jersey MDL, Stryker settled with eight plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum. The parties were ordered to select more cases for the next phase of mediation.
Also, discovery is underway in another MDL that was assigned to the US District Court in Minnesota. The judge on this MDL ordered the plaintiffs to coordinate with lead counsel in the NJ litigation, so there is no duplication. Although state and federal Stryker cases have separate rules, procedures and schedules, any settlements or awards reached in one MDL can affect the outcome of the cases in the other MDL.
Damages from a Stryker Knee Replacement Lawsuit
Depending on your individual case and damages, you may be eligible for the following damages:
- Medical expenses. A bad knee implant can require replacement or revision surgery. A defective device also may cause complications such as infections and blood clots that require other treatments.
- Pain and suffering. Recovering from surgery is a long, painful and difficult process. You will usually need to have more procedures that involve more pain. The jury will review your condition and medical records to determine how much pain and suffering you have had.
- Lost income. If a bad knee replacement has caused you to miss work time because of pain, corrective surgery, etc, you may be able to recover compensation for lost earnings.
Contact a Stryker Knee Replacement Attorney
Based on the information that has been found since the Class 1 FDA recall, it seems Stryker was aware or should have been aware of many of its medical device problems earlier. However, the company failed to investigate or analyze adverse event reports involving the Strkyer Triathlon knee replacement device or to perform proper design validation. There were other Stryker knee replacement devices with major problems as well.
If you have been injured by a defective Strkyer knee replacement device, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical costs, lost earnings, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Our attorneys will determine if you are eligible to join a class-action lawsuit, keeping in mind that such legal matters take time. It could be easier in your case to secure an individual settlement faster.
Please contact our law office today for a free legal case review.
- FDA Medical Device Recalls. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/medical-device-safety/medical-device-recalls
- Knee Replacement Implant List. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthclues.net/blog/en/knee-replacement-implant-list/