The University of Missouri has reportedly settled personal injury and false advertising lawsuits filed from 2018 through 2020 that allege that the “BioJoint” surgeries pioneered by two university employees, orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Stannard and veterinarian Dr. James Cook, which involved replacing parts of the knee with cadaver bones or cartilage to treat arthritis or joint damage instead of implanting an artificial knee, were unproven and experimental. The plaintiffs further alleged that they were not advised that the failure rate for BioJoint surgery was as high as 86%.
The settlements total $16.2 million for the 22 plaintiffs, some of whom were minors. Some of the plaintiffs reportedly were required to undergo additional surgeries and some had to have total knee replacement surgery. Some of the plaintiffs also took issue that a veterinarian was involved in their surgeries.
The CEO of University of Missouri Health Care said in a prepared statement: “We are pleased to resolve this litigation. Providing safe, quality care is always our top priority, and we remain committed to excellence in restoring joint health and function for eligible patients. We are confident in the expertise and dedication of our staff and the innovative, science-based services offered by the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute and the Mizzou BioJoint program.”
The Mizzou BioJoint Center states on its website: “Our team of physicians and scientists at University of Missouri Health Care have developed surgical and non-surgical technologies that help protect and restore tendons, ligaments, cartilage, menisci and bone to improve joint function. Rather than artificial approaches, Mizzou BioJoint® Center treatments involve natural solutions that have the potential to restore joint health and function for eligible patients … The surgeries performed at the Mizzou BioJoint® Center include restorative cartilage, bone, meniscus, ligament and tendon procedures designed to safely improve your joint health and function … Traditional osteochondral allograft transplantation surgeries, which have been done for over 40 years, are effective for at least 10 years in 75 percent to 85 percent of patients when done to treat isolated cartilage defects. Because surgeries done at the Mizzou BioJoint® Center are based on improvements to the traditional techniques, we do not have 10-year data on effectiveness yet, but we hope to continually improve the success rate with our innovative approaches and technologies.”
Drs. Stannard and Cook published a study in April 2020 that concluded: “Prospective data for 194 cases revealed that OCA transplantation for unipolar, multisurface, and bipolar cartilage restoration can be associated with consistently successful outcomes. The 5% revision rate, 11% failure rate, 82%-94% survival probability estimates, and continually improving PROMs through postoperative 3 to 4 years underscore major advances in out-comes as compared with previous reports. These encouraging results were realized with the use of a novel graft preservation method; autogenous bone marrow concentrate pretreatment of donor bone; advancements in graft cutting, implantation, and stabilization techniques; and procedure-specific rehabilitation protocols.”
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