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Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement Problems Reported

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Orthopedic surgeons have released a new report that highlights the risk of problems with Zimmer NextGen knee replacement systems, which have been found to have a high rate of failures and revisions. 

At the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual conference in New Orleans earlier this month, data was presented by a group of knee surgeons at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who said that design problems with the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement has caused an abnormally high rate of loosening that often requires additional revision surgery.

The orthopedic surgeons looked at the two year results of 108 knee replacement surgeries involving the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral knee replacement system, which uses a component that attaches to the bottom of the thigh bone without traditional cement to glue it in place. The researchers found that nearly 9% required revision surgery and that 36% showed signs of the replacement knee loosening, concluding that the Zimmer NexGen knee problems were linked to the design of the implant, and were not related to the surgeon, the surgical approach or the type of patient receiving the knee implant.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, surgeons have previously brought these issues to Zimmer’s attention and called for the company to remove their NexGen knee replacement product from the market. However, Zimmer Holdings, Inc. has not been responsive to their request and issued a statement standing behind the safety of the NexGen CR-Flex Porous component after the data was presented.

Zimmer has previously faced criticism over the design of their Durom Cup hip implants, which are used during hip replacement surgery and have been associated with a number of complications. In July 2008, a temporary Zimmer Durom Cup recall was issued after the company acknowledged that some doctors experienced high failure rates with the artificial hip implant.

Prior to the recall of that hip implant, the device maker dismissed reports of problems with the Durom Cup, leading a prominent Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Larry Dorr, to present data to members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons in April 2008 about the higher-than-expected rate of revisions with the Durom Cup. Zimmer then conducted an investigation and found that some surgeons were experiencing hip failure rates as high as 5.7%, leading them to pull the artificial hip from the market until further warnings and instructions on special surgical techniques needed to implant the Durom Cup. The company now faces a number of lawsuits from hip replacement patients who experienced problems with the Zimmer Durom cup, and have reportedly reached settlements in some of the cases.

Since the data was presented earlier this month about the Zimmer knee replacement problems, some product liability lawyers have begun investigation potential Zimmer NexGen replacement knee lawsuits for individuals who have experienced complications, such as loosening of the knee implant or revision surgery.

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Image via: Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com

33 comments

  1. Susan Reply

    Is the Zimmer PSI Knee Replacement part of the “NexGen” system? Have their been an increased rate of failures with the PSI system?

  2. Robert Reply

    I sure as hell hope that the CEO’s at Zimmer don’t act like many of the CEO’s in the business & government world. Use the intelligence & advice of the medical doctor who uses your product & not the engineers who build the knee, hip, shoulder, etc. replacements.
    At my age I don’t want to have another knee replacements because of some engineer who thinks he is right & the patients, doctors & physicians are wrong. Listen to the experts who have to replace these products.

  3. Carol Reply

    I got the Zimmer nexgen to knee replacement almost 2 yrs ago, and just found out its loosening and need surgery. What is causing this to happen. I dont look forward to another knee relacement so soon?

  4. susan Reply

    I am a rn and have 30 yrs expierence with mostly zimmer hardware. I had not seen any out of the ordinary problems until I had mine! My knees needed replaced 10yrs ago but I cont to indure the constant and ever worsening pain while doing my 12 hr shifts. Then on june 10,2007 I said lets do it! Setting aside all the post op problems that struck me and a couple extra days in the hospital, I returned home and started my own rehab. At 4 wks post-op had had no pain and was able to climb the stairs to the 2nd floor of my house. At my 6wks postop dr appt. I drove my self and walked in using only my cane. I thought all was going good until that day at approx. 8-10wks post op and I stepped on a thumb tack with my nonop leg and reflex indused changed to my op leg. I heartd a “popo” and saw my leg deviate laterally for just a breif second. I sat down on the bed to pull out the tack and sain thanks for not falling down. I continued my day, but by the next 7-10 days I was bed ridden and could not bear any weight on the leg without severe,excrisating pain. the ortho sent a therapist out to my home to evaluate me–she said “OK”.long stgory shortened, my ortho said had to wait at least 4 months to revise. xrays never did show any problem but by the time my husband refused to leave the office on August 21,2007,I was getting prepped for next day I/D. Results–massive mrsa infection with a lower hardware pin broken flush off at the bone. Eight surgeries later and countless bags of iv vanc–Ive still have a leg but it took the state of missouri most renowned surgoens to save.
    No more chances.

  5. Barbara Reply

    I am about to have my third surgery after a failed TKR with the Zimmer NextGen. it took 7 months to determine that the implant didn’t “take” at all – loose at the femur, unattached at the tibia. Two years after the initial TKR, I am about the have the knee cap componet replaced – I think that was the surgeon’m fault maybe, not Zimmer. Who knows?

  6. Maria Reply

    May 2010 had a knee replacement I have been in severe pain since….everything in the knee is loose… and was told its nothing.. I was told by a different ortho Dr..I need another surgery .thanks to Zimmer and the Dr who used this hardwear without giving a dam………

  7. Patricia Reply

    I had knee replacement surgery 6/08, with a great recovery. By August I was walking better than ever. By 9/08 mersa hit my knee. Another major surgery and 6 weeks of IV antibiotics the initial infection cleared. Since then I have had at least 2 bouts with a recurring infection. My knee has hurt constantly since the second surgery. I do believe that the continuing infections that I have dealt with on both legs generated from the 3 bouts of severe infections. I have a card given to me to the DePuy company that I carry in case I set off a metal detector. How do I find out if my inplant is the one you are talking about ?

  8. john Reply

    i have had 3 knee replacements done on left knee in 6 years and still having pain

  9. Rose Reply

    I had both knees replaced with the Zimmer Gender knee in June 2007 and have had issues every since. I have already had to have one surgery since the TKR on the left knee within a year, and have another one scheduled on Dec 2nd. I know the recall is only for the Next Gen model, but I hope they are investigating mine as well.

  10. Anna Reply

    I got my first Zimmer knee replacement in 2000. Since than 2005 had to revise the knee with a spacer because it became unstable. And then in 2009 a revision. I would never have a Zimmer put in. To this day it is unstable.

  11. Ana Reply

    After reading the listed comments, I’m very concerned. I had a TKR on right knee January 2006 .. all went well and continues to do so. I had TKR on left knee March 2010. My knee is still swollen… warm to touch … hurts at times .. when moving knee it feels as if something locks . doesn’t feel right. Last month while sleeping I probably moved my legs to turn and awaken yelling due to strong pain in knee .. it felt as if something had “shifted”. I’ve seen surgeon several times .. x-rays taken … all “appears” normal. Doctor aspirated knee to check for infection … thanks to God it came back negative. Scheduled to see surgeon in a few weeks. I learned I have a Ziimmer NextGen knee.

  12. shirley Reply

    i had a total knee replacement feb of 08 has done great until lately it pops alot. my right one i had done july of 08 it has started popping and is hot feeling if you touch it and it is getting painful. i just moved here i guess i need to see what brand of replacements i had and try to find a nother dr.

  13. Kelly Reply

    I had both knees replaced in 2007. First the right with a Zimmer Nextgen. Then 4 months later the left one with a Depuy. For 3 years I have been telling my doctors at the VA in Tucson that my right knee just doesnt feel right, but they all say the same thing “The pain will go away with time.” Will now I know the pain has a reason… its called RECALL!

  14. Jill Reply

    I had both knees replaced. Right knee in 2004 and the left knee in 2005. Since the 3rd day following surgery I told my physician that there was a severe pain in my left knee below the femur area and he told me basically it was all in my mind. The pain is so severe at times that pain pills don’t even work. I have since found that my left knee is loosening and needs to be replaced. It’s disgusting to find out that this problem is continuing to go on and no one is doing anything to correct it. We are the ones that have to go thru the painful replacement and rehab again….not the doctor!!

  15. joyce Reply

    I thought I was in constant chronic pain and had reached my limit of endurance. That is until I had a total knee replacement using a Zimmer NexGen. I am two years in and the pain is horrific. It grinds, pops, heats and grinds. I am always in pain. I have to take more meds now than pre surgery. It is also the wrong size, I now have one leg longer than the other to the extent that it has caused my spine to be significantly out of allignment. And to add insult to injury, I am having trouble finding someone to take my case. I don’t know what to do. I was having fun and enjoying my life, I had the surgery cause the pain was bad and I feared that my knee was going to just stop. I am now retired and I feel really old and depressed. Can anyone sugest anything?

  16. Elden Reply

    My experience was very similar to the above comments.

    I had a Zimmer(?) mini knee put in the right knee in August, 2005. It was OK til April of 2008, when it failed. Dr. Craig Carpenter, at Chelsea Hospital, Chelsea, Mi. installed a Zimmer NexGen July 22, 2008. From the start I had problems. First, my right foot pointed out at a 45 degree angle, the Dr. said re-hab. would take care of the problem, it didn’t. After 11 months, the Dr. installed a wedge, and corrected the problem. BUT, through all this, the pain NEVER lessened. THEN, in December of 2009, the Dr. told me I needed a new knee!! Well, I did have a new knee put inde, BUT not by DR. Carpenter, ond NOT another ZIMMER!!!. I had Dr. Sam Nasser, at William Beaumont Grosse Pointe, Mi. put in a DePuy, NO MORE PROBLEMS!!!!

  17. B. Urban Reply

    I had one knee replaced in 2009 with a Zimmer knee. I found it OK at first, however, now it clicks and pops on EVERY step. I voiced my disappointment to the Dr. and was told if the knee was tightened when installed it would have impaired my range of motion. In 2010 I needed the other knee replaced. My Dr. promised he would use a different knee model. Turns out he also used a different Zimmer knee and now it also clicks and pops frequently, with discomfort. On occasion my knees also feel unstable. I am frustrated………

  18. Charlie Reply

    I had a left knee replacement, Zimmer CR-Flex, on 04/2004. I had alots of problems. First all the pain, when I started rehab, Couldn’t move my knee. After working with PT of months I could only bend it about 85%.
    I had one therapist set on my leg and another hold me down. Couldn’t bend it any more, Did this heart!!!. The knee clicks/ pops all the time. I still have some pain most of the time, but my knee isn’t giving as before the TKP. I don’t know if this Zimmer is on a recall, will all the trouble with this one I couldn’t stand another TKR. I need one on my Right knee, WHAT TO DO?

  19. Dianne Reply

    Had a next gen zimmer replacement dec 7 2009. No good ever since having a total knee revision replacement of the same knee feb 8th this year at the Cleveland Clinic. There has been terrible pain very limited range of motion, clicking and popping sounds ever since surgury, also had a manipulation 4 weeks after the total knee, did no good at all. Hope when the surgeon takes this out, it will b e better, too bad going through it twice,, ONCe was enough!!!!!

  20. John Reply

    I had my left knee replaced 7 years ago and my right knee 2 years ago. Both are the Zimmer Next Gen. I have been on three ski trips, ride a road bicycle 50 miles at a time and walk daily. My knees are fine so far. Maybe you should look at the surgeon.

  21. LEONARD Reply

    ON 6-09-08 I HAD THE ZIMMER NEXGEN PUT IN MY RIGHT LEG. I KNEW SOME THING WAS WRONG WHEN I COULD NOT WALK ON THE THING. 60 DAY WENT BY AND IT WAS THE SAME. I KEEP TELLING THE DR. SOMETHING WAS WRONG. BUT IT WAS JUST PUT OFF. WILL A YEAR LATER WITH A LOTE OF PAIN AND ALOT OF TEST I WAS TOLD I NEEDED TO HAVE SURGERY AGAIN. AFTER A YEAR OF PAIN IN THAT JOINT AND BEING PUT OFF A YEAR I WENT TO SEE OTHER DR. WILL THE NEW DR REDID THE SURGERY AND DID THE REPAIRS NEED. WILL I STILL HAVE PAIN BUT I’M WALKING AND YES I STILL HAVE THAT ZIMMER. I

  22. Keith Reply

    I want to say that I am so surprised at the number of people who are in the same pain as I am experiencing. January 20, 2010 I had a TKR of the left leg. From the day of surgery to today the pain has always been a strong 10 to 12 from 1 to 12 scale. The Doctor pushed me into PT saying I wasn’t trying hard enough, well had to quite PT as the pain was unbearable.Finally my surgeon told the wife and myself that he didn’t know what to do or what was wrong. I went out and found a second doctor who invented the partial knee implant and I was very confindante that his track record was good enough. Six months later after removing 130 CC of water on my knee and blood test and sending me to a university of Rochester for possible metal allergy tests. He said go to Clevland Clinic they will fix you up as I don’t know what is wrong.Once again I am back to square one without a Doctor or what direction I should be heading for. This case happens to be a workers comp case and the medical field really do not want anything to do with Comp. I called the comp people and was told I can’t go out of state. I have contacted two other surgeon’s and was told not intrested. Still in pain 24/7 and now I have a zimmer knee that nobody wants. I am so depressed and I am ready to pull the pin, I need help from one or all of you.

  23. Bill Reply

    I used to play tournament raquetball for several years and wore out my L knee and in 1984 had a total knee reconstruction. I was never able to play sports again. In June 2005 my L knee was ready for a knee replacement. After the surgery I went to PT and I was never able to fully bend my knee. I was told that I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was in the Marines and know what pain is all about. I know I was trying to the max. I have gone for years with pain and falling because I was never able to fully bend my knee. I went to No Western Hospital Chgo and was told I had a loose prosthesis and need a new knee replacement to fix the one I had. I heard of this law suit and checked the type of Knee replacement and it is a GenX. This is the one with all the problems. I have been suffering for years, taking 800 mg of Motrin for years and I feel it has taken years off my life. I found an attorney but I’m not sure if I should sign because They want 40% if they go into litagation. I was told by a friend who knows an attorney and he said that was too high. 33 and a thrid is usual and customary. I’m confused. I’m wondering if I sign and I making a mistake.

  24. Bruce Reply

    Go home and don’t think about the pain!!!! That’s the best advice the medical profession has had to offer me in the past SIX years!!!
    in the past SIx going on Seven years,i have had a double TKR,FIRST AND SECOND surgeries. Then shortly after (within Six weeks) of replacement ,pin in right knee dislodged, aThird surgery.
    At Three years into my physical and mental nightmares, I am told I need to replace BOTH implants. Did replacement surgery of right knee and would schedule left knee tkr later.Fourth surgery
    Three yrs. later I am sitting here with the original right knee implant and TWO connector pins in my hand.
    I have just made a consultation appt, with surgeon to schedule a left TKR,Fifth surgery.
    We will also schedule surgery to clean the debris, or explore the problems associated from the TKR that replaced TKR of my right knee. Sixth surgery.
    Also we must schedule the repacement of my right HIP. Seventh surgery
    SEVEN SURGERIES IN SIX YEARS
    Original implants were zzzzzzzzimmer nexGen
    I am 62 yrs. of age
    Resonably intelligent (smart enough to realize I am in trouble)
    Businessman of forty years
    HOBBY: Raising and training performance Quaterhorses.
    COMMENT: If I had a horse in my possesion that was suffering as I havefor the past six years, I would have put him down years ago, the HUMANE thing to do, or faced charges for the mistreatment of an ANIMAL!!!!
    SPECIAL THANK YOU SHOUT OUT TO:
    THE FAMILIES of those who Suffer
    GOD BLESS ALL IN INVOLVED

  25. Linda Reply

    Had both knees replaced and had to have another because of failure

  26. Tyron Reply

    You made some decent factors there. I appeared on the internet for the issue and located most people will go along with along with your website.

  27. Dianne Reply

    zimmer next gen installed in me 12/09 must have failed immediatly, pain was unbearable, I too was told “its in your head. nothing is wrong” Finall saw a REAL doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, and a year later the next gen was OUT and a new one was in. 4 hours of reconstructive surgury, I can finally walk, still have pain, but it is so much bettter, Zimmer next gen ruined my life!!!!

  28. mary jo Reply

    I have had both of my knees replaced. Right one in October 2010 and left on February 2011. The right one has done very well. Both knees are the Zimmer knees. I have had trouble with the left one from the beginning. The knee wants to lock and go out of place. I have seen my surgeon and he said that I needed to strengthen the muscles in the knee. I have been doing my therapy in a gym trying to strengthen the knee. In the past week I have been unable to bend the knee and when straightening the leg out it locks leaving me in extreme pain. Just wondered if anyone else has been in this horrific pain.

  29. Patricia Reply

    I had a total knee replacement in March of 2009 and had no problems for a few months.Since then I have been in rehab twice and it helped for a short time ,but it always comes back to having pain,my knee being wobbly and giving out on me. I finally went back to the doctor to find out that my knee is loosing up and I need to have surgery in three days to fix the problems.

  30. jennifer Reply

    i had total knee replacement may 9th 2012, it never felt quite right and i told my surgeon, he kept telling me to wait at least a year to make sure everything had healed. i went back in the fall of last year and he still would not listen to me, i saw his assitant and compained of pain, swelling, fever in my knee and it looking deformed. finally on may the 9th of this year he told me that he had put the wrong size spacer, and has set up another surgery for july 9th. i went to see my family doctor and he is sending me to duke hospital for a second opinion on june 4th. i have been in pain for so long and am comfused.

  31. Jennifer Reply

    My father had his knee replaced on Jan 25th of this year. They used a Zimmer knee replacement. It now clicks all the time when he walks. The Dr told him if it had not stopped by now it probably would not. Upon looking up this knee replacement it seems like this problem was discovered as early as 2009 and I am unhappy that this was choice used for replacement for my Dad in 2012.
    Can I get any information about how I could help him get this issue resolved?

  32. Keith Reply

    Its almost 3 years (Nov 11th) since I had a Nextgen TKR left leg. The pain for the first three months was extreme . Even now I still have numbness pain and tingling around the joint. I can walk(not run) I can climb stairs and train at the gym. I imagine if the left knee could talk to the right knee and ask when will you be done. I am sure it would say b……….off.,but I do sleep well . I read your emails and I could weep for you, for a while I allowed the pain and disappointment to rule my life. Not any more . I am alive .I am loved. I am slowly moving on. God Bless.

  33. Sandy Reply

    I had left TKN replacement 2/11/2011 and have been in terrible pain since. It is a Zimmer knee, but I don’t know which one. My doctor did a manipulation and shot it with cortisone 4 weeks ago which hopefully will help. I have always had fantastic range of motion, no infection, no swelling and no scar tissue. The doctor wanted to do the manipulation to see if that helps although my only complaint is unbearable pain. After the procedure, he told me that studies this past year indicate that allergy to one or more of the metals is responsible for many cases of severe pain and replacing the offending joint with a ceramic coated one eliminates the pain. I need a right knee relacement but will NEVER have it done until the left knee is bearable. This surgery has made my life a living hell and the thought that I may be in this pain for the rest of my life is very depressing. My quality of life has hit 0.

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