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Zimmer NexGen Knee Lawsuit

Total knee replacement procedures are incredibly commonplace, with thousands of them occurring each year. A large portion of the devices used in these joint replacements are manufactured by Zimmer, Inc., though the company has been the subject of intense scrutiny and aggressive litigation in the recent past, stemming largely from its NexGen line of knee implant devices.

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Plaintiffs across the country who have suffered serious harm from a Zimmer knee product continue to file claims for compensation in substantial volumes.

Background of the Zimmer NexGen Line

Zimmer’s NexGen “Complete Knee Solution” system was introduced to the American market in 1994 after having received FDA approval through its notorious 510(k) process. This is an approval track through which significantly less testing and clinical trial proof must be submitted by manufacturers of devices declared to be largely equivalent to devices that have already reached the market. Once the NexGen knee implants began to sell, Zimmer achieved a very competitive posture on the medical device landscape.

In 2001, Zimmer brought a new product line to market known as the NexGen “Flex” knee components, which were notable for innovations including gender-specific designs and cement-less capabilities. It was soon found that the newer generation of knee components did not represent a marked improvement from previous models, and in fact were thought by some experts to be dangerous to patients.

Research Casts Doubts on Safety

In 2008, Richard Berger, an orthopedic surgeon who had served as a Zimmer consultant, along with Rush University colleague Craig Della Valle, presented a series of findings to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The doctors found that in observing 108 individual recipients of Zimmer CR-Flex implants, 36% percent of them had loosening of the components within just 2 years of placement. 8.3% of those patients had undergone revision surgery during the identical time span.

Additional support for the growing concern over NexGen Flex products was found in a study published in the Bone & Joint Journal. The research revealed that 38% of all patients who had received a NexGen LPS Flex knee system over the course of 18 months had indications of noticeable loosening at a scheduled 32-month follow-up, and 21% of those patients required a revision procedure at an average of 23 months after placement.

Serious Problems with Zimmer Knee Implants

Very significant health concerns can arise once a replacement knee joint loosens, fractures, becomes dislocated or fails in some other way. Individuals who have decided to file a Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit often cite a series of issues impacting their overall well-being, including:

  • Potentially permanent nerve damage
  • Harm to tissues surrounding the knee replacement
  • Pain that does not easily subside
  • Fractures and loss of density to bones
  • Joints that become unstable
  • Dangerous clotting of the blood
  • Development of hazardous infections

Because the potential health consequences of a failed knee replacement device as well as possible complications from revision surgery can be so dire, it is not surprising that many victims of defective Zimmer implants have elected to pursue compensation through the legal system.

Essential Facts About Zimmer NexGen Lawsuits

The wave of lawsuits concerning Zimmer NexGen knee products has continued unabated since knowledge of defects began to spread. Thousands of patients thus far have filed suit, resulting in the need for consolidation into multidistrict litigation (MDL) for federal cases. While centralization of this type helps facilitate a streamlining of discovery processes, each plaintiff remains entitled to have his or her case heard on its individual merits. In a large number of product liability and medical device cases of this type, the establishment of an MDL can help pave the way to a large-scale resolution with a high volume of plaintiffs.

Compensation Available for Those Harmed by Zimmer NexGen Devices

News reports and financial data give the impression that Zimmer fully grasps the scope of its exposure when it comes to its NexGen products, and has therefore set aside no less than $150 million in a settlement fund to be used for case resolutions. The first critical trial in the NexGen MDL is scheduled to occur in late 2015, and it may give both sides essential insights into how juries are likely to interpret common questions of fact and law as well as evidence and expert testimony presented in support of each position. Whether the eventual outcome will be a global resolution of pending NexGen knee claims remains to be determined.

 

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