What Is Revision Surgery?

Revision surgery refers to a second (or additional) surgery for any body part or system that has previously been operated on. For implants, revision surgery typically involves removing and replacing all or some of the implanted devices.(1)

This includes revision surgeries done to correct first-time, or primary, hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow replacement surgeries, as well as hernia repair surgeries.

Complexity of Revision Surgeries

Revision surgeries are not like primary surgeries and are not something to take lightly. (2)

Revision surgeries are more complicated than primary, or first-time, surgeries. In the case of knee replacement surgeries, for example, a revision knee replacement procedure entails a more complex surgery. A revision surgery is not expected to have the same lifespan as a first-time knee replacement procedure. (3)

A successful primary knee replacement surgery may last up to 20 years. A successful revision knee replacement surgery typically may last for half that time. (4)

Revision Surgeries Take More Time and Effort

Surgeons face greater challenges when performing revision joint surgery. After they have removed the worn out or defective implant, they have less original bone to work with. They may have to perform a bone graft. This involves transplanting a piece of bone from either another part of the patient’s body or using bone from a donor, so that the revised implant is properly supported. (5)

During joint revision surgery, surgeons may have to remove any damaged and diseased areas surrounding the implant that is being removed. (6)

Overall, revision procedures require extra preoperative planning, specialized surgical tools, and greater surgical expertise. Revision surgeries typically take longer than primary surgeries and are more susceptible to complications. (7)

Implant Litigation

If you underwent a revision, or corrective, surgical procedure because of complications linked to a device inserted during a primary surgery, we encourage you to contact us.

Or, if your doctor has advised you that you need a revision surgery because of problems with an implanted medical device, we want to hear from you. You may be able to seek financial compensation.

If you underwent revision surgery because of a faulty medical device, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Weitz & Luxenberg is continuing to take legal action on behalf of clients harmed by faulty medical devices.

Currently, we are engaged in legal action against the following companies for potentially defective joint replacement and surgical mesh devices being implanted.

Defective hip or knee implants, some of which have been recalled:

Defective surgical hernia mesh, some of which have been withdrawn from the market:

  • Atrium: C-QUR mesh.
  • Bard: Multiple surgical mesh devices.
  • Covidien: Multiple surgical mesh devices.
  • Ethicon: Physiomesh flexible composite mesh.

Medical device manufacturers have recalled some models of their devices.

Types and Procedures

Many types of revision surgeries are performed. These include revision hip, knee, elbow, and shoulder replacement surgeries, as well as hernia repair procedures.

Joint replacement implant surgeries — whether hip, knee, shoulder, or elbow — are similar in that they involve replacing the diseased or damaged joint with an implant, or prosthesis. The joint replacement parts are made of manmade materials, such as metal and plastic. (8)

Surgical mesh implants are sometimes used in hernia repair procedures. Most surgical meshes approved for use in the United States are constructed from synthetic materials or animal tissue. (9)

Reasons for Revision Surgeries

There are many reasons that patients may need to undergo revisions surgeries. Many of these reasons may be due to issues with the implanted devices.

Pain: Although many surgeries cause initial pain, ongoing pain is often a symptom of underlying problems. (10)

Infection: Sometimes bacteria can grow and multiply on the surfaces of implants and surrounding tissues. A person may experience pain, swelling, and drainage that may not be treatable by antibiotics alone. Often, an antibiotic spacer, a piece of cement impregnated with antibiotics, may be placed after the initial implant is removed. This spacer is placed in an attempt to resolve the infection before another device can be implanted in yet another surgery. (11)

Loosening and wear: When parts of the implant rub against each other, the surfaces wear down. Debris particles from this friction may accumulate around the joint. (12)

Osteolysis: Leaching of tiny particles into surrounding tissue can also lead to bone death or disappearance. This process can weaken a person’s bone and lead to fracture. (13)

Fractures: Periprosthetic fractures, or fractures around an implant, can destabilize the fixation of an implant to bone and lead to instability. (14)

Instability: If the soft tissues around an implant are damaged or destroyed in some way, they may no longer be able to provide the necessary stability for a person to carry out basic functions, including standing or walking. Loosening can also lead to instability. (15)

Corrosion, metal debris: Wear and corrosion of an implant can lead to leaching of tiny metal particles into surrounding tissues and the bloodstream. Damage to bone, tissue surrounding the implant and joint, nerve damage, and systemic problems are possible. Problems such as inflammation and pseudotumors caused by metal wear and corrosion are called adverse local tissue reactions. (ALTR) (16) (17)

Reasons for revision surgery for hernia mesh may include (18):

  • Pain.
  • Infection.
  • Mesh migration and shrinkage: moving and contracting, or both.
  • Seroma: fluid build-up around the hernia or mesh.
  • Perforation: a hole through adjoining organs or tissue.
  • Bowel obstruction: blockage of the large or small intestine.
  • Adhesion: tissues stick together.
  • Hernia recurrence.


Recovery time following revision surgery varies depending on the individual patient and the type of surgical procedure. Typically a longer period of recovery is needed after a revision surgery than for the initial surgery. (19)

Literature on Revision Rates

In some cases, medical manufacturers voluntarily recall their devices because of growing medical concerns. In the case of Smith & Nephew, for example, the company recalled its Journey BCS knee system in June of 2018 due to higher than expected rates of revision. (20)

Postmarketing data indicated that patients who received this implant faced a greater risk of requiring a revision surgery earlier than expected. The femoral component specifically was voluntarily recalled. (21)

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service advised physicians not to use this device in July, 2018. The National Joint Registry of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland showed that the revision rate for the first-generation model of the Journey BCS knee was over 1.5 times higher than average revision rates for patients undergoing a first-time total knee replacement. (22)

How Can Weitz & Luxenberg Help?

If you or a loved one has needed to undergo a revision joint replacement or hernia repair procedure due to a faulty medical device, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

You may also be entitled to compensation if you have had a revision surgery or if your doctor has recommended that you undergo a revision surgery due to a potentially faulty medical device but you are not medically able to do so.

We advise you to contact an experienced, reputable law firm focused on medical device litigation. Weitz & Luxenberg is one such law firm. We are a national firm that has been representing clients for more than three decades.

Our Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of thousands of people who have been harmed by the products or actions of others. This includes global medical device manufacturers. We can help you consider your legal options.

Please contact us for a free consultation by completing this online form or calling us at (833) 977-3437. We would feel privileged to assist you.