Biomet Shoulder Replacement Attorneys in New York City


Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder joint has greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. This range of motion is necessary for many things we do, from throwing a ball to lifting something over our heads. Even something as simple as maintaining balance relies on the shoulder’s range of motion, as being able to move your arms in any direction is necessary for shifting your center of balance.

The shoulder is comprised of three bones:

  • The humerus, which is the upper arm bone
  • The scapula, or shoulder blade
  • The clavicle, commonly known as the collarbone

The shoulder has much in common with the hip, which connects the leg to the body just as the shoulder connects the arm. Like the hip, the shoulder is a ball and socket joint, where the upper ball of the humerus fits into the socket of the scapula. Cartilage protects the bones from rubbing together, along with the synovial membrane, which creates synovial fluid to lubricate the joint.

A properly lubricated joint, with the bone protected by “articular” cartilage (the scientific name for the cartilage of the shoulder) is important for proper function.

Reasons for Shoulder Replacement

A shoulder replacement is necessary when something goes wrong with the functionality of the joint. This can be a problem with any of the three major bones, a breakdown of articular cartilage, or malfunction of the synovial membrane. Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer some degree of shoulder pain each year, but not all shoulder problems necessitate a replacement.

Certain medical conditions are associated with damage to the shoulder joint. These include:

  • Various forms of arthritis
  • Significant, untreated tears of the rotator cuff or shoulder separations
  • Fracture

Of the forms of arthritis, the most common is Osteoarthritis, also called Degenerative Joint Disease. This type of arthritis is caused by wear and tear to the joint over years of use, and usually doesn’t occur until a person is older. Though improper motion of the shoulder is sometimes the cause of this condition, other times there is no biomechanical flaw and it is just an overuse issue. Other forms of arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and arthritis caused by trauma to the joint, can manifest at much younger ages.

Unfortunately, the body has limited ability to deal with arthritis naturally, and some type of medical intervention is necessary to address joint deficiency. A variety of medications may be used, particularly anti-inflammatories, but long-term improvement is not always possible with medications alone.

In the case of fracture, there are frequently few choices regarding how to proceed. If the shoulder is damaged to a significant extent, a shoulder replacement is often the only option that restores function.

Biomet History of Defective Design

In February of 2017, Zimmer Biomet initiated a Class I recall of their Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder systems. The recall was due to a significant risk of fracture associated with the devices, and affected approximately 4,000 units. It is unclear if this is the full extent of the recall, or if additional problems will manifest with time.

Patients affected by defective shoulder implants may experience a wide variety of symptoms. Infection in the area can cause fever or can be indicated by the shoulder being warm to the touch. Significant pain is the most common side effect of a defective shoulder implant. Patients might also experience weakness in the limb or a diminished range of motion due to implant failure.

Sadly, Zimmer Biomet has a history of defectively designed implants. A series of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer after their hip implants failed at a high rate, resulting in metallosis and other side effects. The company has a significant history of designing unsafe products that have left thousands in worse shape than when they started.

A failed shoulder implant can have a variety of repercussions for the patient. If the implant breaks due to trauma, pieces of it may pose significant health risks until they are removed. At the very least, a revision surgery will need to be done to put in a new implant. Revision surgeries carry greater risk of complications than initial procedures.

Putting profits above the health of patients is unacceptable. Whether or not Zimmer Biomet is cutting corners on their design process or not, it is clear that they have released multiple unsafe products onto the marketplace. Businesses must be held accountable for unsafe actions that put the health and safety of others at risk, or they will never change their practices.

If you or someone you love has suffered due to a faulty shoulder implant, Finz & Finz, P.C., has years of experience holding medical device manufacturers accountable for unsafe products. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., now, toll free, at (855) TOP FIRM, or fill out the Free Faulty Shoulder Replacement Case Evaluation Form to begin the process of receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.