Metallosis and Hip Implants

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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:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Memory loss
  • Metal fogginess
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Hearing loss
  • Nerve problems
  • Visual impairment
  • Skin rashes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Infections
  • Pain in the hip joint
  • Implant loosening
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Pseudo tumors
  • Seizures
  • Goiter
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Depression
  • 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.

Once the 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.