A failed knee replacement is not a common problem for the majority of those who have undergone either a total or partial knee replacement. Around 95 percent of those receiving a knee joint replacement see no issues for the planned lifespan of the joints of between 15 and 20 years. There is a range of symptoms seen with a knee replacement joint failure which can be due to an improperly designed piece of hardware or the general wear and tear of living a normal life. Recent news has come to light of the Attune knee failure which is now being recalled and replaced with a redesigned artificial knee.
Symptoms of a failed knee replacement
There are a number of warning signs any person who has undergone knee replacement surgery should be aware of, including a large amount of soreness or swelling in the affected joint. A condition is known as Crystalline arthropathy is a concern for many physicians and surgeons as they seek the best ways of identifying a failing joint. This common problem sees the knee joint feel as though an infection is taking hold but is, in fact, the result of the crystallization of the failing hardware.
Other symptoms commonly seen include a loss of balance in the patient who may find they are unsteady on their feet throughout the course of daily activity because of hardware problems with the joint. Any surgeon will be able to identify an individual patient who is affected by metal hypersensitization caused by the joint failing and causing a rash around the knee. Symptoms can also include a fever in the knee joint and a large amount of fluid buildup around the affected joint.
Why does a knee joint fail?
There are a number of reasons why a replacement knee joint fails, including each joint having a finite lifespan and improperly designed metal joints. Recently, the Depuy Attune knee failure has seen many patients affected by a recall of metal joints which have been in use for over 15 years. The main problem found with the Depuy replacement joint has been a bonding issue which has caused many patients to suffer from their replacement joint detaching from their lower leg bones. A replacement has now been put into use which makes the Attune the subject of a safety recall.
Just like bone, metal and plastic parts of the replacement knee joint can fracture or break due to trauma causing the need for a substitute joint to be installed. Another reason why a knee replacement may fail is the fact plastic and metal can be the site of bacteria clinging to these materials and causing infection.
If a patient feels they are unsure of the stability and safety of their replacement knee joint they should look to the assistance of their surgeon or a licensed physician to start the process of examining the knee joint. Like all metal and plastic components, a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years is common for replacement knee joints as wear and tear will begin to see the knee failing as it is in use for more than a decade.