Knee replacements are some of the most common surgical procedures that take place in the United States. In fact, knee replacement surgery is often recommended for patients who suffer from conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, hemophilia, and avascular necrosis. There are hundreds of thousands of patients undergoing knee replacement surgery; that means there are potentially hundreds of thousands of patients with a defective knee replacement device inside of their body. The recent recall of Exactech’s knee replacement device should give every patient that has undergone knee replacement surgery cause for concern.
What Exactech knee replacement devices have been recalled?
The knee replacement devices that have currently been recalled are the Exactech Optetrak, Logic, and Truliant knee replacement systems. These devices were recalled due to the presence of a polyethylene defect found in an insert attached to the device. This February, there have been more than 147,000 recalled knee, ankle, and hip replacement devices that have been revealed to be defective.
What is the insert inside the knee replacement devices that caused a defect in the replacement devices?
Along with the knee replacement device comes an attachment known as the Exactech Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene knee insert. These insert bags are supposed to include a second barrier layer with ethylene vinyl alcohol. This is to help keep the knee insert from prematurely deteriorating. When the second barrier layer is missing, oxygen is at risk of reaching the plastic inserts before it is inserted, causing oxidation that deteriorates the polyethylene liner. As a result, the knee replacement device experiences several issues.
When were the inserts installed inside of patients?
The inserts and knee replacement devices were placed into patients in 2004. When the knee replacement devices were manufactured in Exactech, the company did not design the replacement devices in a reasonable or practical manner.
What are some signs that the Exactech knee replacement device has become defective?
The lack of additional protection for the knee insert causes knee replacement devices to prematurely break down and experience early device failure. Defective knee replacement devices can cause patients to experience symptoms such as bone loss, component fractures, worsening knee pain, swelling, pain while walking, and knee instability.
How should patients with a defective Exactech knee replacement device proceed?
Patients with a defective Exactech knee replacement device who are experiencing the following symptoms should reach out to their physician as soon as possible. Surgeons have already been advised to halt all installations of these knee replacement devices. After meeting with a physician, physicians will conduct a thorough X-ray examination for a more accurate evaluation. Based on the results of the evaluation, physicians may recommend alternative solutions like corrective surgery to resolve the defective issue.
How has Exactech decided to resolve the issue with defective knee replacement devices?
The company has decided to reimburse all patients with knee replacement devices. For reimbursement, the company advises all patients to fill out a form on their company website to receive the proper reimbursement. However, former patients have decided to proceed with product liability claims against the company for failing to provide consumers with a safe product. Information from former lawsuits states that the company failed to act in the best interests of the consumers and decided to perform a “silent recall” instead of making a public announcement and dealing with the negative press.
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