"I started to get pain on the medial side, right below the knee replacement, and a lot of swelling around my knee," says Darlene, who was only 58 when she had her first knee surgery. "My doctor tried all kinds of things to ease the pain—by 2008 it was so bad that I could hardly walk. X-rays showed that the lower component in the tibia was slightly askew and my orthopedic surgeon could feel that it was loose. He tried to adjust my gait with a foot fusion but that just made things worse. Next up, I wore a full leg brace, from my ankle to my hip, for a year. I am only 5 feet tall and these braces are made for taller people. Every day I put that damn thing on and that didn't help either. Although it did help a bit with the pain in my knee, I suffered from hip and back pain—what a mess.
"I have no idea why my doctor didn't know that the Zimmer NexGen knee was defective. Why did I have to endure the foot fusion and the brace? Finally my orthopedic surgeon advised revision surgery—to have the femoral component replaced. So I looked for the best surgeon in the area, a surgeon who had experience with revision surgery. And I made sure he wasn't going to replace it with a Zimmer NexGen. My second knee is a completely different design: It has much longer rods in both components so I'm hoping it will have a longer life than the NexGen.
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"I still don't understand why my surgeon didn't know there was a problem with this device; wouldn't Zimmer notify all surgeons? I want my revision surgery to be reported and information gathered so that it is taken off the market. I want my story to get out to Zimmer; I don't know whether or not they are still making this component, but if they are, they shouldn't be!"
Zimmer recalled more than 65,000 NexGen MIS tibial knee replacement components after reports of pain and discomfort due to the knee loosening. Many people like Darlene ultimately required revision surgery to replace the defective NexGen knee.