Signs of a Failing Exactech Implant Device

Signs of a Failing Exactech Implant Device

Tens of thousands of individuals have received potentially compromised Exactech hip, knee, and ankle replacements. For people plagued with painful joint-related issues, these Exactech devices helped patients regain mobility. However, oxidation of the plastic insert of these devices has pushed the medical device company to initiate sweeping recalls. Victims injured by defective Exactech joint implants have filed lawsuits nationwide. Only a little over the year into the recall, many are just now learning about the problems with Exactech devices. If you have an Exactech hip, knee, or ankle implant, you should know the signs of a failing device. Continue reading to learn more about what you need to watch out for if you have an Exactech joint implant. 

What Is the Problem With Exactech Joint Implants?

Exactech introduced its Optetrak knee implant in 1994, and since then, the company has released several models and implant types. For years, healthcare providers have recommended Exactech implants to relieve pain and restore joint mobility. Yet, in August 2021, Exactech recalled knee and ankle implants with polyethylene inserts. The massive recall affected nearly 150,000 units manufactured from 2004 to the present. 

Premature implant failure launched the 2021 recall, which Exactech later expanded in February and August 2022. The company kept these devices in non-conforming packages in which oxygen could enter. As oxygen seeped into the packaging, this oxidized the polyethylene insert. The oxidation of the plastic caused the implants to degrade rapidly. This early degradation left thousands with implants that could prematurely fracture or crack.   

Are Recalled Joint Implants Still Used?

The 2021 recall only impacted certain knee and ankle models. But, the updated February 2022 recall included all knee and ankle polyethylene inserts packaged in non-conforming bags, regardless of label or shelf life. Then, in August 2022, Exactech once again expanded the recall to cover approximately 40,000 hip-liners. 

In its recall notices, Exactech has advised surgeons not to implant these non-conforming implants. Surgeons are not to use any inserts stored in out-of-specification vacuum bags due to the risk of oxidation. Exactech also requested surgeons return all conforming and nonconforming devices. 

How Do I Know if My Exactech Implant Was Recalled?

The recalls apply to Optetrak, Truliant, Vantage, Optetrak Logic, and Connexion GXL replacements. You can type in the serial number of your implant to determine if the recall has affected your device on the Exactech website.  

If you are still unsure about the status of your implant, consult your surgeon or healthcare provider. 

Signs of a Failing Exactech Implant

Exactech knee, ankle, and hip replacements are prematurely failing, forcing many patients to undergo revision surgery. Exactech does not recommend revision surgery if the patient has no symptoms of a defective device. Therefore, patients should be vigilant regarding signs of a failing Exactech implant. Healthcare providers and patients need to monitor implants very closely for: 

  • A clicking noise coming from the hip, knee, or ankle 
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Swelling
  • Pain 
  • Decreased mobility 
  • Weakness in the joint area 
  • Loss of balance 
  • Grinding noise in affected joint 

It is critical that patients take these symptoms seriously and contact their healthcare provider if these signs arise. Yet, patients with a failing Exactech joint implant do not always show symptoms. In these cases, patients may suffer osteolysis, a form of bone loss, without exhibiting any signs. Speaking with your healthcare provider is crucial because they may perform X-rays if they suspect a failing device, even if there are no outward signs. 

Physicians may recommend revision surgery to rectify the failing Exactech implant for patients with premature polyethylene wear.