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Complications with Cartiva Toe Implant

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Complications with Cartiva Toe Implant

Big toe arthritis, also known as hallux rigidus, is the most common type of foot arthritis, affecting 1 in 40 people over the age of 50. If you or a loved one suffers from big toe arthritis, you know how painful this condition can be. Some patients seek relief from the pain by choosing to undergo toe fusion surgery, which fuses the joints of the toe together. This alleviates the pain from big toe arthritis, but also restricts mobility.

The Cartiva implant was developed as an alternative to toe fusion surgery that would maintain the patient’s ability to move their big toe. However, both patients and physicians have reported problems with the Cartiva big toe implant. Some doctors have stopped recommending the Cartiva implant to their patients as a result of the high rate of complications.

What Is a Cartiva Big Toe Implant?

Cartiva is an implant inserted into the first joint of the big toe. The Cartiva insert is made of a synthetic water-based polymer designed to mimic the body’s natural cartilage. It was intended to relieve the painful irritation caused by the degrading of the body’s natural cartilage in the first joint of the big toe. Once inserted, the Cartiva implant was supposed to allow patients to maintain their regular range of motion and move about in their everyday lives without pain. The procedure itself was touted to be quick, simple, minimally invasive, and with a shorter recovery period than toe fusion surgery.

How Long Does the Cartiva Implant Last?

Cartiva was designed to provide long-lasting – possibly even lifetime – relief to sufferers of hallux rigidus. In practice, however, doctors began seeing problems as soon as the first post-operative visit.

How Successful Is the Cartiva Implant?

The original studies conducted to gain FDA approval indicated that more than 85% of patients expressed satisfaction with the procedure. While many physicians enthusiastically adopted the Cartiva implant based on this original research as a preferable alternative to traditional big toe fusion surgery, some doctors soon began to see more post-operative issues than the research suggested, including:

  • Increased pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Subsidence (implant sliding into bone)

Why Does Cartiva Fail?

Experts have speculated that the failure of the Cartiva device is due to a design flaw, possibly related to the extremely smooth surface of the implant causing the implant to sink into the bone, a process called subsidence. Unlike Cartiva, many implants are designed with some surface irregularity. Furthermore, the bones of the surrounding toe may be too weak to support the implant. Some doctors report a more than 50% failure rate of the device in their patients, far more than the approximately 13.5% reported by Cartiva’s manufacturer. As a result, many surgeons have stopped using the Cartiva implant.

Patients who are experiencing post-operative pain after undergoing Cartiva big toe implant surgery should contact their doctor to discuss options to remedy any complications resulting from the implant.

How Do I File a Lawsuit?

Instead of the promise of maintained mobility and relief from chronic pain, your Cartiva implant procedure may have caused more problems. If you have experienced post-operative pain or injury as a result of your Cartiva implant, you may need to have surgery to repair or replace it. Undergoing a second procedure can be a discouraging, painful, and expensive experience.

If you or a loved one has experienced complications after undergoing Cartiva big toe implant surgery, or has had to undergo a subsequent procedure to repair or remove the Cartiva implant, you may be able to sue for compensation to recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wage loss
  • Other financial losses resulting from your injury

Pursuing financial recovery can help you recover expenses that you lost due to problems caused by the Cartiva implant. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and you are entitled to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options. The team at Brett H. Oppenheimer, Attorney at Law, is proud to pursue justice for our clients and is actively accepting clients seeking representation for their Cartiva case. Brett will speak with you – free of charge – to determine if he and his team can help.

Have you or a loved one experienced complications resulting from a Cartiva big toe implant? Call Louisville attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer at (502) 242-8877 today.

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