Titanium “rib plates” – medical devices sold by KLS Martin, LP, and other manufacturers – are commonly used in connection with a cardiac surgical procedure called an aortic valve replacement (AVR) via right anterior thoracotomy or in shorthand a “mini-thoracotomy.” This is a procedure to replace a poorly working aortic valve with an artificial valve. The surgery is performed through an incision between the ribs at the second or fourth intercostal space.
“Rib plates” are semi-flexible strips of titanium which typically feature centerline holes where bone screws are inserted to attach the device to an underlying bone. Although there are no broken ribs or sternum bones associated with a “mini-thoracotomy” procedure, “rib plates” are still used to fasten ribs together to promote healing of the incision into the intercostal muscle and cartilage.
As is the case with “rib plates” implanted to stabilize broken ribs, the mechanism for “rib plate” plate fracture following a “mini-thoracotomy” – metal fatigue — is the same. Scientific studies conducted on behalf of Lamothe Law Firm, LLC show have shown that titanium “rib plates” can fatigue and fracture when subjected to stresses associated with ordinary daily activities.
A simple x-ray can determine if you have suffered a fractured “rib plate.” The x-ray image below is an actual fractured “rib plate.”
Problems Attributed to Fractured Titanium Rib Plates
When an implanted “rib plate” fractures, it can cause great pain and discomfort which persists until the broken device and its bone screws are surgically removed. Such corrective surgeries are, of course, a new medical wound.
Holding Medical Device Manufacturers Accountable
The public relies on medical device manufacturers to thoroughly test their products and warn treating physicians of their risks and potential harm. If treating physicians are not adequately warned of this fracture process, then they cannot fully consider whether the use of this medical device is appropriate for their patients. Similarly, uninformed physicians cannot obtain informed consent from patients who are to receive the implant of the “rib plate” into their bodies.
If you have had a “mini-thoracotomy” and afterward experienced a fractured “rib plate” implant that is causing pain and discomfort, you should immediately contact Lamothe Law Firm, LLP. We can help you with the process of determining your recovery rights.
If your surgeon advises you to have the broken “rib plate” surgically removed, it is essential that your surgeon and/or your hospital’s pathology department be immediately notified to preserve the broken “rib plate.” Lamothe Law Firm, LLP can help you with that process.
Contact an Experienced Medical Product Liability Attorney
Proving that a medical device is defective can be complicated, requiring thorough investigation, consultation with biomechanical engineers and other experts, and sometimes taking on large corporations and their insurance companies. There also are time limits for filing a lawsuit, and circumstances may exist where a rib plate seller has defenses to a claim. Lamothe Law Firm, LLP can assist you in determining the status of your claim.
If you or someone you love is the victim of a failed titanium “rib plate,” you need experienced and courtroom-tested trial lawyers on your side. The Attorneys at Lamothe Law Firm, LLP, have represented persons affected by fractured rib plates and other defective medical devices. Please contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we will fight for you.