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Soft Tissue Imaging & Metal Ion Testing

Fort Lauderdale Hip Implant Lawyer

Numerous all-metal hip implants and hip implants with metal components have been recalled, and thousands of lawsuits have been filed against hip implant manufacturers. Claims of implant failure, metallosis, tissue damage, and infection have made metal hip implants one of the costliest implant recalls in U.S. history.

The FDA recommends that patients who are experiencing symptoms of hip implant failure or metallosis receive additional testing to monitor and assess their hip implants. In particular, two tests are recommended: soft tissue imaging and metal ion testing. If you received a metal-on-metal hip implant, it is important to contact your doctor soon.

Soft Tissue Imaging Methods

For some patients, cross-sectional imaging may be needed to assess the soft tissue near the implant. Metal-on-metal hip implants can cause shards of metal and metal ions to become embedded in surrounding hip and joint tissue. This can cause necrosis of the tissue and pain. Assessing the tissue in the joint can be done in three ways:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    MRI often offers the best visualization of soft tissue; however it is not recommended for some patients. Heating of the tissue near the implant could occur in some implants, making it less reliable.
  • Computed Tomography Scans (CT Scan)
    CT scans usually offer the best visualization of bony tissue and implant positioning, but ionizing radiation during the test provides lower soft tissue visualization.
  • Ultrasound
    This method offers good soft tissue visualization, but image quality is often poor and provides lower resolution than MRI.

Your physician can determine the best image test to undergo; however, the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel recommends MRI imaging with metal artifact reduction as the best way to view soft tissue surrounding the hip implant.

Metal Ion Testing

The FDA is concerned about higher metal ion levels in the blood in patients with metal hip implants. Patients with metal hip implants may have higher than normal levels of cobalt and chromium and should be evaluated. Obtaining accurate metal ion testing is difficult, however, and not all labs can accurately and precisely measure trace elements. If your physician recommends metal ion testing, you should have your blood or joint fluid tested at a lab that is CLIA-certified. The FDA recommends testing cobalt and chromium in EDTA anti-coagulated whole blood.

Who Should Be Tested?

At the moment, the FDA does not recommend that patients without symptoms undergo routine testing. Patients who are experiencing symptoms of hip implant failure should be evaluated and assessed for soft tissue damage and metal ion toxicity.

Patients with the following symptoms should immediately contact their doctors:

  • Pain in hip joint
  • Swelling in hip
  • Change in walking ability more than three months after implant surgery
  • Joint infection
  • Implant loosening
  • Palpable hip mass
  • Popping or clicking sounds when walking
  • Peri-prosthetic fractures
  • Dislocation of the hip
  • Local nerve damage

Florida's Defective Medical Device Law Firm

If you are suffering from the side effects of a defective hip implant, you need a lawyer with the experience and skill to take on big medical manufacturers. At Kelley/Uustal, we are confident that our team of Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you need and deserve. To learn more about hip implant lawsuits in South Florida, contact our office today.

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