Legal Guide

Surgeon’s review of failures with Zimmer Biomet’s NextGen knee replacement could lead to new lawsuits

A follow-up review of high failure rates in Zimmer Biomet’s NexGen Knee Replacement System could lead to a further spate of lawsuits, according to legal experts at the medical negligence firm McCarthy + Co. Zimmer Biomet is the world’s largest knee implant manufacturer, but the company has been beset by problems since it launched a new model of high flex NexGen implants in 2001. The new range of implants led to many hundreds of complaints and lawsuits, and ultimately to mass recalls throughout the 2000s and 2010s.

The follow-up review, conducted by Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar David Keohane and published in the British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery, identifies issues that are specific to the NexGen implant and highly likely to be factors in the high aseptic revision rate reported by surgeons. Keohane believes that these issues have not been taken seriously enough by the UK National Joint Registry, despite a compelling dataset that correlates with his findings. As such, he has urged surgeons to take great care when using this type of implant.

Having experienced mass litigation in the past, the findings by Keohane could potentially spark new legal issues for Zimmer Biomet. “The findings of Keohane’s review may well lead to new litigation proceedings against Zimmer Biomet by patients who have been fitted with the NexGen Complete Knee System” says John McCarthy, a medical negligence lawyer at McCarthy + Co. John advises anyone who has experienced pain or discomfort, had to undergo revision surgery or suffered total knee replacement failure to get in touch with an experienced medical negligence law firm for advice on bringing a claim against the manufacturer.

A short overview of Zimmer recalls and lawsuits

Complaints, lawsuits and recalls of Zimmer Biomet’s NexGen system date back to 2001 but major recalls have occurred on multiple occasions over many years. In July 2014, over 42 thousand units were recalled “due to the potential that the threads may be out of specification.” In January 2016, another 42 thousand units of knee implants were recalled due to packaging related issues. 28 thousand units were recalled in February 2017 due to elevated endotoxin levels in the polyethylene joint components. Product recalls have coincided with many complaints and thousands of individual lawsuits. Law.com recently reported a new product liability litigation in Georgia, where the plaintiff alleged that Zimmer’s NexGen device “sheared inside his knee”.

Bringing a case regarding a faulty knee replacement system

Individuals who have been fitted with Zimmer’s NexGen Knee Replacement System (or any similar faulty system by another manufacturer) may have grounds to bring a case for compensation if they have experienced any of the following issues:

  • Pain or discomfort following the device being fitted
  • Loosening of the parts following the device being fitted
  • Painful revision surgery due to the device failing
  • Having to take extended periods off work due to pain and revision surgery
  • Complete failure of the knee replacement.

Further details regarding bringing a lawsuit can be found on McCarthy + Co’s blog, here.


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