Hundreds of thousands of people receive knee replacements every year. As a result, knee replacements have become a routine surgery performed in the United States. However, the Zimmer prosthesis company has been dealing with lawsuits from Zimmer side effects associated with knee replacement surgery. Approximately one third of knee replacement surgeries that were performed with Zimmer knee replacements have either caused health problems to the patient or malfunctioned shortly after surgery.
Zimmer side effects are mostly caused by a malfunction of the knee replacement, infection to the area, or dislocation of the prosthesis. Many Zimmer side effects also develop after a length of time when the knee replacements become loosened or worn. These complications can become serious without medical attention.
Common Zimmer Side Effects
Zimmer side effects have impacted many lives. They can become very painful and inconvenient for patients and in many instances require additional surgery to resolve the issue. In other cases, Zimmer side effects can be treated with physical therapy or simple medical procedures.
Zimmer side effects include:
- Severe pain
- Reduced range of motion
- Loosening of device
- Failure of device
- Bone fracture
- Nerve damage
- Joint instability
- Dislocated joint
- Blood clot
- Uneven leg length
- Joint stiffness
- Ligament instability
- Dislocated kneecap
- Heart attack
Patients may develop blood clots in a leg vein after knee replacement surgery. This can be one of the dangerous Zimmer side effects if blood flow is blocked from the leg to the heart. Blood clots can also migrate into the lungs and cause problems. Blood clots are more common in the elderly and people who are overweight. Past problems with blood clots and cancer are also risk factors.
Zimmer side effects from infection are rare if patients are healthy. Health problems like diabetes, chronic liver disease, or rheumatoid arthritis will increase the likelihood of Zimmer side effects from infection. Patients prescribed to corticosteroids are also at risk. Patients may require antibiotics or additional surgery if infections are deep within the joint. Sometimes it is also necessary to remove the knee replacement.
The infection is more difficult to remove the longer it is present or if it occurs months to years after surgery. In this case, a “staged surgery” is usually required. This process involves removing of the implant, washing the implant and soft tissues of the knee, and lining the area with an antibiotic spacer. IV antibiotics are also used for this process.
In rare cases, nerve damage from Zimmer side effects may occur near the surgery site. Nerve damage from Zimmer side effects can cause tingling, numbness, and coordination difficulty. This is often resolved after a few months as the nerve tissue heals.
Zimmer Side Effects of the Kneecap
Another of the Zimmer side effects is dislocation of the patella, or kneecap. When this happens, the kneecap moves to the side of the knee. It can often move back into place by flexing the knee but this problem causes discomfort and a feeling of instability in the leg. Kneecap dislocation also interferes with the quadriceps muscles on the front of the leg. Surgery is usually required and sometimes the entire knee replacement must be redone.
The kneecap can also fracture if patients fall or over-strain themselves. This is a visible problem when the patient bends the knee. Doctors can usually treat the fractured kneecap without performing additional surgery.
Motion Problems from Zimmer Side Effects
Some Zimmer side effects can develop as a result of scar tissue or other complications. These can interfere with the knee’s ability to flex. Special exercises or physical therapy can help to resolve the stiffness. Severe cases are called arthrofibrosis, or “stiff knee syndrome,” and may need medical treatment to remove the scar tissue.