Gray & White is investigating potential lawsuits regarding the DePuy Synthesis Attune Knee replacement implant. In recent months, several patients have come forward in Kentucky and several other states describing severe problems associated with their knee implants. The common thread amongst these patients is that they were implanted with the DePuy Synthesis Attune Knee System when they underwent a knee replacement surgery.
DePuy Synthesis Attune Knee Replacement Patients Report Premature Failures
Knee replacement surgeries are performed routinely in Kentucky at such hospitals as Nortons Hospital, Baptist Hospital, University Hospital, UK Hospital, St. Joseph’s, Western Baptist, Lourdes Hospital, Owensboro Mercy Hospital as well as several ARH hospitals in eastern Kentucky. In the United States, there are over 600,000 total knee replacement surgeries performed each year. This number is predicted to keep increasing in the foreseeable future. Often times, knee replacement surgeries are successful and the patients go on to lead very normal lives. The DePuy knee replacement patients may fall into a different category. Several patients have reported the premature failure of their knee replacement. In some cases, the knee replacement system has failed within less than a year after implant.
Such a quick failure is not acceptable. Most artificial joints are expected to last a minimum of 15 years. Most research shows that well over 95% of knee implants are fully functional after 10 years. The reports complain of DePuy knee replacement tibial baseplate loosening which leads to pain, infection, injuries to the bone and muscles and inflammation. Some patients have had to undergone additional surgeries to try and fix the failure of the DePuy Attune knee replacement device after the bonding of the knee component to the bone as come loose or detached.
The Most Common Complaints Received by the FDA Concerning the Attune Knee Replacement Are:
- Loosening of the components (tibial loosening, change in position of the device components, disassociation of the insert)
- Patella-Femoral Tracking-Lateral Release
Premature Knee Replacement Failure Causes Unnecessary Pain and Suffering
Knee replacement surgeries are expensive and require difficult physical therapy. When a knee replacement fails prematurely, the patient is caused to suffer additional revision surgeries, pain, suffering, medical bills, and longer rehabilitation and physical therapy. Patients in these situations are also prone to increased risk of infection.
Knee Replacement Failure Warning Signs
If you have a DePuy Attune knee implant you should be mindful to watch for signs of premature failure. These can include:
- Swelling: This is often caused by irritation or loosening components that can cause the living of the knee to become inflamed. This results in a fluid build up.
- Pain: Pain after knee replacement surgery is typical. However, persistent pain that intensifies when your knee is in motion or a constant sharp or throbbing pain when the knee is at rest could indicate that the device is failing.
- Instability or loosening of the knee component: Any sign of knee instability such as shaking or wobbling when standing or having your knee move in an unnatural direction is generally a sign of failing components.
These signs typically increase as the device continues to fail and cause inflammation and damage to the ligaments and tissues surrounding the knee replacement.
Effects of Premature Failure of DePuy Synthesis Attune Knee Implants
These and many more problems have been reported to the FDA. The most common device failures reported to the FDA are:
- Metal shedding (debris found in or around the area of the implant)
- Premature wearing of components
- Failure of the components to bond
- Loss of Osseointegration
“Piston Effect” Could Lead to Your Implant Failure Being Misdiagnosed
Unfortunately, patients experiencing a failing Attune knee replacement may be misdiagnosed. Too often, patients experiencing premature failure of a knee replacement are no properly diagnosed due to a phenomenon called the piston effect. When a device starts to fail, the problem typically is noticeable when the knee is in motion. However, most patients are x-rayed in a still position when the knee is in rest. This makes it very difficult to detect any problems associated with the device failing because it is being viewed in its static bonded position. Therefore, it is extremely important to be vigilant in recognizing the early warning signs of a failure and discussing this with your physician. The longer a failed device remains in place, there greater potential for it to cause increased harm to your body.
Reconstructive Surgery to Replace a Failed Implant Is Risky and Painful
Knee replacement surgery is a difficult and important decision. Often times it is a last resort when the pain and discomfort have become too great or the patient is not able to get around as they desire. The surgery itself has been around for decades. The devices, however, have changed. In a total knee replacement surgery, the damaged surface of the knee joint is removed and replaced by a prosthetic implant. This is generally made of plastic, metal or a combination of both. When a knee replacement surgery fails, the device must be removed. This is an extremely painful and risky surgery. If the damage is extensive, a reconstructive surgery might be necessary to rebuild the knee in order for a replacement knee device can be implanted.
What Is the Problem with the DePuy Synthesis Attune Knee Replacement Implant?
Why are patients reporting problems with the Attune knee replacement system? The exact cause of the problems is still being investigated. However, The Attune system uses metal-on metal components. This can lead to metal hypersensitivity and aseptic prosthesis failure. Many of the metal-on-metal hip implants of the early 2000’s failed due to similar problems. Our firm was one of the first in the country and the first in Kentucky to handle lawsuits against DePuy concerning injuries resulting from metal-on metal hip implants. The Attune system may also be heading in this direction. According to The American Journal of Case Reports, the Attune system has the potential for these same issues which could explain the numerous complaints of premature component failure.