Despite the overall high success rate in knee replacement surgeries, researchers have identified larger-than-usual failure rates with the DePuy Synthes ATTUNE® Knee System.  Problems with ATTUNE include loosening of the tibial component at the implant-cement interface within the first two years after implant. Patients with this Depuy knee system often present with pain on weight bearing, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Researchers believe that these failures are likely underreported, as competing companies cannot provide data on the revision components that they replace. We are currently investigating cases involving individuals who have undergone revision surgery due to loosening after a knee replacement using a DePuy ATTUNE knee device.

Knee replacements can improve quality of life

The knee is made up of a complicated set of tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones. When the joints become damaged by either progressive arthritis, trauma or other ate destructive diseases of the joint, it can cause severe pain that limits everyday activities or even moderate to severe pain while resting during the day or night. In these circumstances, knee replacement surgery can help restore quality of life.

More than 700,000 total knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedics, and nearly 90 percent of patients who undergo knee replacement report a dramatic reduction of knee pain following surgery. Knee implants allow for normal activities and motion, and typically last 15 to 20 years or more.

There are more than a dozen manufacturers of artificial knee implants. DePuy is one of the more popular knee implant makers in the country. In 2013, DePuy Synthes Companies launched the Attune Knee System, a fixed bearing system, to provide patients with increased stability and better range of motion.

But soon after its launch, surgeons began noticing that the DePuy Synthes Attune Knee System was failing in unusually high numbers, requiring patients to undergo painful revision surgery to remove and replace the device.

DePuy Attune Knee Implant System failures reported

In June 2017, a study published in the Journal of Knee Surgery revealed that patients who had patients who had undergone total knee arthroplasty (TKA) experienced a high rate of debonding of the tibial component at the cement interface.

Researchers reviewed three hospital databases and identified 15 patients aged 47 to 84 who had revision surgery due to their Attune Knee Implant tibial loosening at the implant-cement interface. Patients experienced pain when putting weight on their affected knee, effusion, and decreased range of motion within two years after undergoing total knee replacement surgery.

Additionally, researchers found 21 reports of tibial loosening at the implant-cement interfeace with the Attune Knee Implant in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database (MAUDE) within a two-month period. “Numerous other tibial failures were reported; however, the mechanisms of failure were not specified,” the researchers noted. “We believe this complication is underreported due to failure of radiographs to assess loosening. In addition, MAUDE database reporting is not consistent and competing companies cannot provide data on the revised components.”

Despite these issues, DePuy has refused to issue a recall of the Attune Knee Implant System.

When a Knee Implant Fails

Knee implants are designed to last 15 years or more. But failures with the Attune Knee Implant System are occurring less than a year or within months of surgery. When unexpected loosening of the tibial plate occurs, it causes extreme pain and swelling. Often, painful revision surgery is required to remove and replace the device. Complications of revision surgery include bone loss, muscle damage, nerve damage and infection.

Signs of knee implant failure include:

  • Instability when standing, or the feeling like the knee is going to give out backwards or sideways.
  • Popping, clicking or crunching sounds coming from the implant.
  • Heat or warmth around the knee joint.
  • Joint pain and/or swelling.
  • Decreased range of motion.

DePuy Attune Knee Lawsuits

On September 13, 2017, a lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County in Alabama alleging the DePuy Synthes Attune Knee System is prone to premature failure putting patients at risk for painful revision surgery.

Attorneys with Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating cases involving individuals who have undergone revision surgery because their Attune knee implant loosened.

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