Over 10,000 people in the UK given faulty Zimmer Biomet NexGen knee replacements

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Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

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In December 2022, it was reported that over 10,000 NHS patients have been given faulty knee replacements which could require a secondary surgery within the next 10 years. The NexGen Zimmer Biomets are the second most used brand of knee implants in the UK. They’re frequently recommended by doctors, but they’ve been failing at an unacceptably high rate. These failures mean many people may be able to claim medical compensation.

Knee replacements are expected to last over 15 years. However, worrying statistics reveal the implant has been shown to fail in up to 7% of patients after 10 years. This is double the accepted failure rate of 3.5%, set by the National Joint Registry.

One of the most common issues identified is with the tibial component. This is the bit which attaches the device to the lower leg. It has a high rate of failure and can cause severe pain and discomfort. One concerning study even shows a 17.6% failure rate after just 5 years. The National Joint Registry said that so far they had identified 350 people who needed a second operation within ten years due to ‘aseptic loosening’.

The NexGen product was voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer, a US firm named Zimmer Biomet, in October 2022, despite concerns being raised over NexGen several years ago. However, this is little help to those who have already been fitted with the faulty knee replacement. In the meantime, many people have lived with expensive medical costs and severe pain, waiting for a solution.

Following a review, The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that it would issue a ban on the implant, which has been in use since 2003. The Chief Safety Officer at The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Dr Alison Cave, told The Daily Telegraph:

“We are actively working with relevant stakeholders and reviewing all available evidence from a range of sources on the concerns raised on the performance of the NexGen knee implant.”

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. The MHRA is an executive agency which is sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care. They seek to put patients first in everything they do, right across the lifecycle of the products they regulate. They rigorously use science and data to inform their decisions, enable medical innovation and to make sure that medicines and healthcare products available in the UK are safe and effective.

Additionally, a spokesperson for Zimmer Biomet said:

“We are working closely with regulatory authorities on this voluntary recall and information will be sent to surgeons informing them of the details pertaining to this recall next week. At that time, information will also be made available on our website.”

Zimmer Biomet was founded in 1927 and since then has been said to have been setting the standard for excellence in orthopaedics. They state that they remain deeply committed to making their ambition of alleviating pain and improving the quality of life for people all around the world a reality by developing, researching and investing in cutting edge implants, digital technology, and infrastructure. They hope that this will enhance relationships between healthcare providers and patients, optimise surgical procedures and personalise treatment.

They have clients in over 100 countries with operations taking place in more than 25 countries. Their global team works collaboratively, sharing knowledge across disciplines and forging connections with hospitals, patients and surgeons. In doing so, they aim to show gratitude for the contributions and diverse perspectives of all team members and commit to the highest standards of patient safety, quality, and integrity

To achieve their aims, they focus their resources in areas where they believe they will be able to make a difference and aim to ensure the company’s return is equivalent to the value we provide our customers and patients in order to give back to our communities and people in need. 

It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have hip and knee replacements on the NHS every year. Both operations cost around £5,000 each. The majority of patients have either severe arthritis or have fractured their joints and struggle to carry out basic daily tasks. Replacements tend to be made of plastic, metal or ceramic — and usually last for at least 15 years.

If you or a loved one have experienced the damaging effects of the NexGen implant knee replacements, you can get in touch with our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors.

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What Can You Do If You've Been Affected?

If you’ve not seen an orthopaedic surgeon, this should be your first port of call. They can assess if any of the widely reported issues are present for you.

If you have a NexGen replacement that has failed, you may be able to take legal action to compensate you for the current and future issues you might have. We recommend you get in touch with our expert team of Medical Negligence Solicitors who have recovered hundreds of millions of pounds for people due to medical negligence.

Second Knee Replacement Surgeries

You may have been experiencing severe pain and discomfort from the faulty knee replacement, and as a result may require a second knee replacement operation, well before this would’ve usually been necessary.

These knee revision surgeries are complex and difficult. You might be entitled to compensation for the damages around the second surgery, which may have been avoided completely if a different implant had been used. Your second surgery might have been brought forward due to the faulty implant. If your second operation failed due to the faulty implant, compensation may cover that too.

Usually, outcomes for patients after the second surgery are worse than the first. You can get symptoms which can affect you for your whole life including:

  • Ongoing pain
  • Weakness in the joint
  • Instability and loss of mobility

What Compensation Could You Get?

You might be entitled to compensation if faulty NexGen replacements has affected your life. This includes:

  • Surgical expenses
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Loss of income due to an inability to work
  • The cost of rehabilitation
  • The cost of home care
  • The cost of physiotherapy

As part of your claim, you can also get general compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured. You may also be able to get access to private treatment. This could be far quicker than getting it on the NHS and would be paid for as part of the settlement.

How We Can Help You Make a Medical Negligence Claim

If you’ve been one of the thousands of people affected by the faulty NexGen knee implants you had in knee replacement surgery, you could claim compensation. Zimmer Biomet have recalled the implants after their proven issues, but it may be too late for you if you’re suffering from their debilitating effects.

We understand that a successful medical negligence meningitis claim isn’t just about getting compensation. With the right compensation settlement, you’ll be in a better position to cope with any ongoing physical or emotional problems caused by your meningitis symptoms.

Our team of qualified Medical Negligence Solicitors will undertake all the necessary investigations for you, run your case from start to finish and arrange appointments with all of the appropriate medical specialists. This means that you don’t have to be concerned about the complexity or stress of the claim.

Our expert team will regularly provide you with support and clear, straightforward information and advice throughout the whole medical negligence claims process to reassure you and guide you every step of the way.

We have some of the best medical negligence solicitors in England and Wales and other specialist legal teams to meet all your needs. This should reassure you that you’ve come to the right place. You may be facing many day-to-day challenges so we want to make dealing with any legal issues as seamless and stress free as possible. That means that you can then focus on your recovery and living a fulfilling, independent life.

Our dedicated team have the experience and knowledge to guide you through every step. We know choosing someone to help you can be a difficult decision, but hopefully we can prove that you’ve made the best choice.

However, we appreciate that it’s not just about the compensation in a medical negligence claim. When you’ve been impacted to such a significant extent following medical negligence, we understand that your main focus is likely going to be your health and your recovery. We can ask for rehabilitation suited to your particular needs and get you the support you need.

We understand that you may find it upsetting to talk about, but we’ll be sympathetic and sensitive to your needs and we’ll tailor our service to suit you. We'll also explore non-confrontational ways of securing appropriate amounts of compensation, reducing any stress to you, and work closely with the NHS to make sure that lessons are learnt.

If you are looking for a no obligation chat about a possible medical negligence claim our friendly and dedicated team is ready and waiting to take your call on 0808 239 6043. Alternatively, you can request a call back and one of our team will contact you as soon as possible. We may even be able to assist you on a No Win, No Fee basis – just ask us about this.


Zimmer Biomet. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from https://www.zimmerbiomet.eu/en/about-us (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

UK Government. (n.d.). Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. About. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency/about (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

UK Government. (n.d.). Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

National Joint Registry for England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.njrcentre.org.uk/ (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Daily Mail. (2023, January 26). Faulty knee replacements given to 10,000 patients. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11505967/Faulty-knee-replacements-given-10-000-patients.html (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Kate joined the Clinical Negligence department at Simpson Millar in January 2023 after previously working at Chris Kallis Solicitors in Plymouth. Kate qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and has developed extensive experience in both Personal Injury and Medical Negligence.   

Initially Kate started working as a Defendant Solicitor for firms such as Bond Pearce LLP and DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd. This has allowed Kate to develop a tactical advantage to her cases, using the experience of how a claim is dealt with from a Defendant’s perspective. 

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