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You’re finding that your total knee replacement has “failed” or loosened; is this likely due to a mistake that your surgeon made, and if so, is there a way to determine this?

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Failed or loosened knee replacements have been getting more attention lately, due to law firms aiming to round up U.S. plaintiffs for class action lawsuits involving allegedly defective knee implant devices.

However, is it possible for the devices to be high quality, but the surgeon to make a mistake?

“Yes; for low volume surgeons, the likelihood of a poor cementation job or mal-alignment leading to more rapid wear is higher,” says Jeffrey A. Geller, MD, Associate Chief, Division of Hip & Knee Reconstruction; Director, Minimally Invasive Hip & Knee Replacements, Columbia University Medical Center, NY, NY.

‘Typically a loosened knee de-bonds from the bone. If the cement (which acts like a grout) is not done carefully, it may come loose sooner.”

This is one reason why it’s better to have one joint replaced at a time, rather than both at once.

After all, if there is going to be the potential for surgeon error, it’s better to have this occur with one knee than with both.

This is akin to undergoing LASIK surgery one eye at a time, in that if the eye surgeon is going to screw up, better that you have one messed-up eye rather than both.

Some knee pain patients do elect to have both joints replaced at the same time, but it’s advisable to have one joint done at a time.

A bone scan will confirm loosened TKRs. The symptoms of loosened knee joints can mimic other conditions, such as osteoarthritis in the hip—which can cause referral pain in the knee/s.

Another condition that loose total knee replacements can mimic is compressed nerves in the lower back.

Dr. Geller specializes in arthritic disorders of the hip and knee. He has extensive training in joint replacements and performs surgery using some of the latest, most advanced minimally invasive techniques.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.