Metallosis and Hip Implants
Justice for Victims of Defective Hip Implants
Metal hip implants cause friction, which can shed metal shards into your
blood stream and surrounding tissue. With each step, the ball-and-socket
components of the implant rub together and slowly distribute particles.
These metal ions can become embedded in the surrounding tissues or enter
the bloodstream, and when this occurs, a dangerous and toxic condition
known as metallosis results.
What Is Metallosis and Does It Affect You?
Metallosis is a medical condition caused by toxic levels of metals in the
body. We can be exposed to toxic metals in a number of ways, including
the environment, the foods we eat, and metal implants that are placed
into our body, especially metal-on-metal hip implants. Hip implants like
the DePuy ASR use a ball and cup system that are made of cobalt and chromium.
Other hip implants use a metal neck and stem made of the same metals.
While small amounts of chromium and cobalt are naturally found in healthy
bodies, the excessive buildup of these metals is toxic.
What Are the Symptoms of Metallosis?
Each person reacts differently to high levels of metals in his or her body,
especially cobalt and chromium. Some of the symptoms a toxic patient could
experience because of metallosis include:
- Memory loss
- Metal fogginess
- Hearing loss
- Nerve problems
- Visual impairment
- Skin rashes
- Thyroid problems
- Pain in the hip joint
- Implant loosening
- Tissue necrosis
- Pseudo tumors
- Blood pressure problems
- Limited mobility
Diagnosis of Metallosis
Doctors can usually diagnose metallosis by performing a routine blood test
or fluid joint test on patients who have been implanted with a metal-on-metal
hip implant and who are experiencing symptoms. There is no specific safe
level of metal ions in the blood, but the normal measurement for cobalt
in joint fluid is less than two micrograms per liter of blood. Tests like
X-rays and MRIs may also assist in locating tissue necrosis before pain begins.
Treatment of Metallosis
One of the main ways to treat metallosis in the body due to a defective
hip implant is to remove the defective device during a revision surgery.
If there has been severe tissue and bone disintegration, doctors may have
to remove some bone and tissue during surgery.
defective hip implant is removed, patients may benefit from chelation therapy to remove excess
metals from the blood. While this is usually used to treat lead, arsenic,
or iron poisoning, it may be useful for the removal of chromium toxicity.
Cobalt, however, cannot be chelated from the joint or fluid, so chelation
is not an option for high levels of cobalt.
Individuals who have received an all-metal hip implant or a hip implant
with metal components are urged to consult their physician and monitor
themselves closely for signs and symptoms of metallosis. While the FDA
does not recommend routine blood testing for individuals who do not have
any symptoms of metallosis, blood or joint fluid testing is recommended
for those who do.
Understanding Your Legal Rights
If you have a defective hip implant that has caused medical complications
such as pain, limited mobility, or painful revision surgery, it is important
that you discuss your case with a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer immediately.
You may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of
your device and receive compensation for your revision surgeries, pain and suffering,
lost wages, and future medical testing.
South Florida Hip Implant Attorneys
If you or someone you love has suffered
medical complications after being implanted with a metal-on-metal hip implant, it is important
to speak to an experienced South Florida hip implant lawyer. The Fort
Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Kelley/Uustal have the resources
necessary to succeed in even the most complex defective medical device case.
Contact the legal team at Kelley/Uustal today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation with
an attorney from our firm regarding your case.