Recently, hip replacement has gained popularity in the United States. This is because people have been suffering from fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other fatal musculoskeletal conditions. However, thanks to hip replacement implants, people with joint issues can retain their mobility instead of succumbing to the pain and discomfort it generates.
But aside from the benefits, there are certain setbacks as well. In June 2021, Exactech issued a recall for close to 90,000 Connexion GXL Liners, which have been used for hip replacement surgeries since 2008. Several instances of device failure resulted in fatal injuries among patients. That’s what prompted the recall.
In August 2022, AboutLawsuits.com reported that in the previous year, Exactech had recalled nearly 250,000 hip, ankle, and knee replacements due to polyethylene liner issues. Currently, the popular orthopedic device maker’s hip implant recall has expanded to include nearly 40,000 components that may be defective and prone to failure.
Exactech issued a DHCP (Dear Healthcare Professional) letter regarding its hip implant recall, which includes the acetabular hip liners used in the brand’s products such as Novation, Connexion GXL, MCS, and Acumatch systems.
In this article, we will delve into the dangers of faulty hip replacements by Exactech that have contributed to the increase in the number of lawsuits. We will also shed light on what action to take if you have suffered after using this medical device.
The Problem with Exactech’s Hip Implant
Exactech’s Connexion GXL liner is made from a sturdy material called ‘ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene’ plastic, known for its durability and strength. Therefore, it is natural for patients to expect that the product will last for a substantial amount of time.
However, Susan Schrott from New York, in her Exactech lawsuit, claimed that her hip replacement failed within four years when it should have lasted for at least 20 years. Like many others who faced a similar predicament, she had to undergo surgery to remove the components.
While announcing the recall, Exactech stated that the Connexion GXL liner was prone to premature failure. The company acknowledged that poor packaging and defective manufacturing were the main reasons responsible for this recall.
At the time of the recall, Exactech had received several complaints from patients who had undergone hip replacements and their physicians regarding device failure and premature deterioration. However, the recall notice still emphasized that the brand did not know the exact reason for the device failures.
The company continued to investigate this after its hip implant recall and shared the source of the issue. The vacuum seal package that they used for shipping Connexion GXL liners didn’t include an additional material layer to prevent the entry of oxygen. This led to oxidation, which, in turn, resulted in the degradation of the GXL liners.
The same liner has also been used for manufacturing Exactech’s knee and ankle replacement devices, which also led to recalls.
How Can the Faulty GXL Liner Affect Patients?
The minute-wear debris from the polyethylene liner is fatal for the tissue. When the liner starts to degrade, it automatically releases wear debris in the prosthetic hip space area. This region comprises bone, muscles, and soft tissue. When left untreated, the bone, muscle, and soft tissue might become necrotic and ultimately die.
Osteonecrosis is the term for bone death. Additionally, muscle loss can lead to instability in the hip region, causing dislocation. Osteonecrosis can result in implant loosening, malposition, and subsidence. All of these issues can introduce complications during revision surgery. Simultaneously, it reduces the likelihood of a favorable outcome for the patient undergoing the surgery.
Patients who have faced complications from surgery will experience similar symptoms to those that people with hip replacement product failures face. The complications caused by the Connexion GXL liner include:
- Joint weakness and pain
- Ambulatory problems
- Revision surgery
Needless to say, these issues are unpleasant, and no one wants to experience them. However, if you have experienced such complications, it is necessary to take the required action to remedy them.
The Legal Recourse for Hip Replacement Product Failure
Anyone affected by Exactech implant complications should seek financial compensation. To do this, it is necessary to file a legal complaint with the assistance of a lawyer experienced in handling medical device failure lawsuits.
However, before rushing into a lawyer’s chamber, the victims must collect the necessary evidence their lawyer will ask for. This evidence can include the medical history, the invoice for the hip replacement product, documents related to the surgery, and other details that can help the lawyer develop a compelling case.
TorHoerman Law states that victims must be aware of the potential payout to keep their expectations realistic. Currently, the Exactech lawsuits are in their initial stages, and the settlement amount can vary between $50,000 and $300,000. However, this is not a fixed amount. The payouts are case-specific and are based on the magnitude of suffering that each patient undergoes.
Joint pain problems affect mobility and aggravate the quality of life. Patients who opt for hip replacement products hope to lead a better life, free from the pain and discomfort that they otherwise have to endure. For many, Exactech’s Connexion GXL liner seemed to be a solution, but the faulty products proved otherwise.
Hence, patients must exercise maximum caution before they choose any hip replacement product. The increasing number of lawsuits has been effective in bringing this problem to the fore. The awareness generated will help patients research joint replacement implants and arrive at an informed decision.