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Harm Caused by Defectively Designed Shoulder Replacement Devices

It was during the 1950s when shoulder replacement surgery was first performed in the U.S. to treat severe shoulder fractures. In this surgical procedure, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis (artificial component materials are typically metal or durable plastic).

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which functions as a part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), says that an estimate of 53,000 people in the U.S. undergo shoulder replacement surgery or shoulder arthroplasty every year. Despite this big number (though much smaller compared to the 900,000 Americans who have knee and hip replacement surgery), orthopedists only recommend this procedure if the extreme shoulder pain or limited range of shoulder motion complained of by patients cannot be treated through non-surgical means, or if a debilitating shoulder injury cannot be corrected by more conservative methods.

Shoulder replacement surgery is said to be a tremendously successful procedure for providing pain relief and for restoring shoulder motion, function and strength. This is never the case, however, in patients who have been implanted with a faulty replacement device. For, instead of increased function and minimized pain, the surgery has rather resulted to increased pain, additional medical expenses and the necessity of corrective surgery.

One device that is said to be causing greater harm in patients is the Wright/Tornier shoulder replacement. According to doctors and patients, the defectively designed Wright and Tornier shoulder replacement products have only led to these devices failing soon after implant or, in many other cases, instead of delivering the promised corrective solution to shoulder pain, the outcome are rather harmful effects, which include metal poisoning, bone and tissue damage, and implantation failure, dislocation of implanted parts and revision surgery.

A shoulder replacement mass tort is in the process of being filed by those who have been seriously harmed and made to endure increased pain due to defectively designed shoulder replacement devices.