Zimmer Knee Replacement

Knee replacements are intended to last approximately 15 years, but the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex can reportedly fail within three years. A recall has been issued for the Zimmer knee implant based on research that indicates the NexGen CR-Flex has a higher-than-expected failure rate.

Zimmer Knee Implant Recall Requested

Heeding the call of several prominent knee surgeons, the FDA issued a Class II recall of the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex knee replacement on March 12, 2015.

Several prominent knee surgeons have requested a Zimmer knee implant recall of the NexGen CR-Flex due to its early failure rate. At a 2010 conference of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a pair of knee surgeons presented new evidence which indicated that the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex knee replacement failure rate could be as high as 9%, and suggested that the number of Zimmer knee implant complications that required revision surgery could be even higher. The same study found that 36% of Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex knee replacements became loose within two years of implantation.

The study’s researchers, who were from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, examined nearly 110 patients who received the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex knee replacements. They discovered that nine patients needed a second corrective surgery due to knee pain and implant loosening, and that nearly 40 recipients showed signs of loose Zimmer knee implants which were unrelated to patient type, procedural approaches or specific surgeons.

Zimmer Knee Implant Problems: Loosening, Pain, Early Failure

Unlike most artificial knee implants, the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex is attached to the thigh bone without the use of cement. Regrettably, this may cause the knee replacement system to loosen overtime or detach completely. A loose knee implant can cause pain, erode the bone, and severely restrict the patient’s daily activities.

Signs of a loose Zimmer knee implant may include:

  • Knee stiffness
  • Knee pain
  • Limping
  • Decreased range of motion in the joint
  • Difficulty putting weight on the knee

Zimmer Knee Replacement Lawsuits

It is believed that Zimmer knee implant failure of the CR-Flex systems is associated with design problems, though the manufacturer has placed the blame on orthopedic surgeons. A doctor who authored a study on the knee replacements has called the failure rate of the Zimmer CR-Flex knee implant “horrific” and three surgeons have recommended against the use of certain Zimmer knee replacements due to “unacceptably high” rates of implant failure and loosening.

Since the alleged defect was discovered over 900 federal lawsuits have been filed against Zimmer. The litigation has been centralized in a Multi-District Litigation overseen by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Palmeyer in federal courts in Illinois. The initial case, known as the “bellwether,” was recently concluded, and the jury found Zimmer not guilty. This case has no bearing on the outcome of the 900 other cases that are pending, but is a good indicator of how a jury will respond to the evidence. If you or someone you know has experienced any of the negative side effects associated with the NexGen CR-Flex knee replacement lawsuits can still be filed.