In October 2009, the plaintiff presented to defendant Orthopedic Surgeon for consideration of right total knee arthroplasty. After evaluating plaintiff’s history and presenting condition, defendant Orthopedic Surgeon determined that plaintiff had significant arthritis of the medial compartment of the knee consistent with medial degenerative joint disease. He therefore recommended right total knee arthroplasty.
On November 19, 2009, plaintiff underwent the recommended right total knee arthroplasty. The procedure was completed without any apparent complication. Plaintiff initially did well post-operatively. He was seen for clinic visits through December 2009, at which time he had no significant complaints.
In 2010, plaintiff began complaining of increasing pain and decreased range of motion. He was treated conservatively with pain medication and physical therapy. He experienced some improvement, but not resolution of his complaints.
In June 2010, plaintiff transferred care to another Chicago area hospital. At that time, repeat imaging of the right knee identified an approximately 5 degree reverse tibial slope. Plaintiff continued to receive conservative management, including referral to the hospital’s Pain Management Clinic. In March 2011, plaintiff underwent revision surgery of the right total knee arthroplasty. Thereafter, his pain and range of motion improved.
Plaintiff alleged that defendant Orthopedic Surgeon was negligent in his surgical technique on November 9, 2009. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that defendant Orthopedic Surgeon negligently created a reverse tibial slope of approximately 5-10 degrees, which was the cause of plaintiff’s post-operative pain and decreased range of motion.
The defense argued that defendant Orthopedic Surgeon’s surgical technique was appropriate and within the standard of care. A reverse tibial slope, while not optimal, is acceptable as long as the patient has adequate intra-operative and post-operative range of motion. Plaintiff exhibited better than average range of motion both intra-operatively and post-operatively. The defense further argued that plaintiff’s post-operative complaints were secondary to neurogenic pain, a recognized complication of total knee arthroplasty.