Cartiva Implant Lawsuit What is, Definition, Meaning

What is the Cartiva Implant Lawsuit? (2024)

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The Cartiva Implant is a medical device designed to alleviate the discomfort and motion limitations caused by arthritis in the big toe, a condition that affects over 2.2 million people in the United States. The device was introduced to the medical community in 2015, offering what seemed like a promising alternative to the traditional, more invasive big toe fusion surgery, also known as arthrodesis.

The Cartiva Implant is a small, cylindrical device made of polyvinyl alcohol-based hydrogel (PVA). This unique material was chosen for its ability to mimic the properties of natural cartilage, a soft tissue that cushions the ends of bones at the joints, preventing them from rubbing against each other. In patients with arthritis, cartilage degradation occurs, leading to painful bone-on-bone contact.

The purpose of the Cartiva Implant is to act as an artificial replacement for the degraded cartilage. It's designed to fit neatly into the big toe joint, providing a gel-like cushion that reduces pain and restores a degree of normal joint function.

The implant procedure involves the creation of a cavity in the metatarsal head, the round part of the bone located at the base of the big toe. The Cartiva Implant is then inserted into this cavity, with the aim of providing relief without the need for removing a significant amount of healthy tissue or causing extensive surgical trauma.

The Cartiva Implant's promise of minimal surgical trauma, combined with a quicker recovery time compared to traditional surgery, initially made it an attractive option for many patients. However, in practice, the implant has been linked to a high rate of failure and a host of serious complications, which has led to legal action against its manufacturers.

How the Cartiva Implant Works

The Cartiva Implant was designed as a revolutionary solution for patients suffering from hallux limitus or hallux rigidus, forms of degenerative arthritis that affect the first metatarsophalangeal joint, or the first joint of the big toe. This joint is crucial to our ability to walk, run, and jump effectively and without pain. The degradation of cartilage in this joint, a common consequence of these conditions, can lead to significant discomfort and decreased range of motion.

The Cartiva Implant, made of a polyvinyl alcohol-based hydrogel (PVA), is a small cylindrical device designed to replace the degraded cartilage in the joint. The PVA material is chosen for its unique properties that closely mimic the nature of natural cartilage, providing cushioning between the bones and reducing friction.

The implantation procedure involves a surgeon creating a cavity in the metatarsal head, which is the round, upper part of the bone at the base of the big toe. The size of the cavity is carefully tailored to match the size of the Cartiva Implant. Using specialized instrumentation, the surgeon then inserts the Cartiva Implant into the cavity.

Once implanted, the Cartiva device is meant to behave much like natural cartilage, acting as a buffer between the bones in the joint. This is intended to alleviate the bone-on-bone rubbing and the associated pain, restoring a degree of normal joint function and mobility to the patient.

Unlike big toe fusion surgery, which often results in the loss of joint mobility, the Cartiva Implant is designed to preserve joint motion and function. It also promised minimal surgical trauma and a quick recovery time, making it an initially appealing option for many patients.

However, despite its innovative design and promising initial claims, the Cartiva Implant has been associated with a high rate of failure and severe complications. This discrepancy between the promise and the reality of the Cartiva Implant has led to a surge in legal actions against its manufacturers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The longevity of the Cartiva implant can vary from patient to patient. It depends on several factors, including the patient's overall health, activity level, and how well the body accepts the implant. However, numerous reports of early failure have surfaced, prompting lawsuits against the manufacturer.

  • The problem with the Cartiva implant, as alleged in numerous lawsuits, is a higher-than-expected failure rate leading to severe complications such as persistent pain, loosening or fracturing of the implant, subsidence (where the implant sinks into the bone), and other issues that necessitate additional surgeries.

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