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Zimmer NexGen Revisions. Early Grave?

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Chicago, ILLiving with a failed Zimmer NexGen knee is bad enough, but having to endure four revision surgeries in your 70s could mean an early grave.

Angie’s grandmother has gone through six (!) knee surgeries, including two knee replacements with Zimmer NexGen Knees and four revision surgeries. The orthopedic surgeon opted not to replace her knees with another Zimmer product. Instead, they were replaced with Stryker devices.

“Shortly after my grandmother, Lue, got her first knee replacement she got an infection,” says Angie. “After a round of antibiotics and x-rays they found out that her Zimmer knee was loose so she had revision surgery. She had the other knee replaced not long afterward but that got infected as well. She had to get that taken out and replaced with a Stryker knee too - so she had to endure a total of six knee surgeries in her 70s. Now she is 81 years old and I don’t think she can handle another anesthetic and everything that comes with these invasive surgeries.”

Angie says that her grandmother is still suffering from infections, both knees are constantly swollen and she is always in pain. Lue has taken so many painkillers they aren’t working anymore. Neither are the antibiotics: they even injected antibiotics directly into her Zimmer knees - to no avail.

“The infectious disease specialists can’t figure out how to get rid of the infections; they are saying at this point all they can do is give her another revision surgery, but her family is against it,” says Angie, who is also against it. “Previous surgeries haven’t alleviated the infection problem so why take the chance on another. The anesthesia alone is dangerous, particularly given her age. And she has had angioplasty so this makes her even more at risk.”

Lue was better off before getting her knee replacements. Angie says she led an active life but now she can’t take one step without complaining. And she needs a walker. These days Lue gets out occasionally but she is pretty much housebound.

“Of course my grandmother is most upset about it; she is constantly complaining about the doctors but the doctors can’t do anything,” says Angie. Frustration all round.

“I talked to her orthopedic surgeon on several occasions,” Angie explains, “from the first time she complained about it feeling loose. And then I did some research. Everything people complained about happened to her. She didn’t have all these problems until the Zimmer was implanted. Although they changed both knees to a Stryker device, the problem was already there with Zimmer.

“At this point my grandmother will do just about anything that will make her feel better. I told her she is too old to have all these surgeries. She even went to Minnesota to get a second opinion but the other surgeon just told her to go back to the first surgeon, who just wants to keep cutting away. In the meantime I am compiling all her medical reports and hospital operating records - it is a heavy file. And I have filed a Zimmer NexGen claim on her behalf.”

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