Our attorneys are evaluating claims that the use of bone cement in joint replacement procedures has resulted in bone cement implantation syndrome (BCIS, a life-threatening reaction in some patients ). In addition, we are investigating claims regarding bone cement failure that resulted in revision surgery.
Bone cement is a materiel frequently used to anchor artificial joints to the bone in hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow replacement procedures.
Some patients who underwent a cemented joint replacement — especially a total or partial hip replacement — experienced a deadly reaction during or shortly after cementation, known as “bone cement implantation syndrome.” BCIS is characterized by side effects like hypoxia and pulmonary embolism, among other life-threatening reactions.
Bone cement has also failed to hold some patients’ implants in place after a cemented joint replacement. When this happens, the implant can become unstable and even slip off the bone. To fix the implant, patients must go through a painful and costly revision surgery to repair or replace the original implant.
If you or a loved one experienced BCIS during a cemented joint replacement, or required a revision surgery because the cement used failed to hold your implant in place, our bone cement lawyers want to hear from you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn how you may be eligible for compensation.
What Is Bone Cement?
Bone cements have been used in joint replacements for more than 50 years. The most popular kind of cement is made of a common plastic known as plexiglass, or poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA), but glass polyalkenoate, magnesium phosphate, and calcium phosphate types are also used.
The cement is used to secure implants in joint replacement procedures such as partial and total knee and hip replacements. After the cement is inserted, the implant is attached to the bone and the cement expands to fill the gaps between the implant and the bone. This ensures the implant doesn’t loosen and slip off the bone after the procedure.
Bone cement also doubles as a drug delivery system. Antibiotics such as gentamicin are included in the powder component of the cement’s mixture, which reduces the risk of infection post-procedure.
Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome
BCIS is a rare complication that can occur during a joint replacement procedure, but is most commonly associated with a total hip replacement. At some point during the procedure patients may experience one or more of several symptoms, including:
- Cardiac arrest
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Hypoxia (not enough oxygen in the bloodstream)
- Increased pulmonary vascular resistance
- Loss of consciousness
- Pulmonary embolism
Researchers aren’t unified on what causes BCIS, but it’s thought to be the result of bone marrow entering the bloodstream.
After cementation, when the implant is inserted into the joint, the bone cement expands and places pressure on the bone. This pressure may cause blood vessels within the bone to rupture, allowing fat, bone marrow, and even cement into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these materials can clog arteries and cause a pulmonary embolism or cardiac arrest.
A study conducted in England between 2005 and 2012 sought to determine how often the use of bone cement in partial hip replacements resulted in BCIS. The study was published in the British Medical Journal and reported 62 adverse events related to BCIS, 41 of which resulted in the patient’s death. The study found that one in every 2,900 cemented partial hip replacements resulted in an adverse event related to BCIS, such as cardiac arrest or death.
Bone Cement Failure
Some patients that have a cemented joint replacement require revision surgery because the bone cement failed to keep the implant attached to the bone. The bone cement holding your implant in place may have failed if you experience the following symptoms:
- Implant instability
- Implant loosening and debonding
- Unusual swelling at the joint site
- Decreased range of motion
- Persistent pain
- New chronic pain
In some instances of bone cement failure and BCIS, patients have filed lawsuits against the bone cement manufacturer.
In 2010, Synthes agreed to pay $23.3 million in fines, forfeiture, and a civil settlement after it was uncovered the medical device maker was marketing it’s Norian bone cement to surgeons without FDA approval. At least five patients died on the operating table during procedures that used Norian bone cement.
In July 2018, a women who underwent a cemented knee replacement with DePuy Orthopaedics SmartSet GHB bone cement filed a lawsuit alleging the cement is defective and unreasonably dangerous. Plaintiff Osa Green required a revision surgery after her knee replacement loosened and began causing her severe pain.
Previously, we have successfully filed lawsuits against Stryker and DePuy for the failure of their metal-on-metal hip implants. In a separate case involving Johnson & Johnson and the department that makes its hip replacement, DePuy Orthopedics, patients that developed metal poisoning after receiving a Pinnacle metal hip implant won $500 million in a lawsuit.
Morgan & Morgan Lawyers May Be Able To Help You Recover Compensation
Total or partial cemented joint replacements are supposed to improve a person’s quality of life, not cause life-threatening reactions during or new pain after the procedure. If you or a loved one were injured or died as a result of BCIS, or required a revision surgery because of bone cement failure, we want to hear from you.
Our firm has experience of taking on the biggest medical device makers and may be able to help you recover compensation. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.