Several manufacturers of metal on metal hip implants have recalled their devices because of the potential of metallosis and other serious medical complications. A few of the affected hip implants are the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the Rejuvenate hip implant and ABG II implant, both of which are manufactured by Styker.
Metal on Metal (MoM) devices – where both the ball and socket are made of metal – have been popular with hip surgeons for years. However, once implanted, these two components may rub together, sometimes with disastrous results. There is increasing evidence that if the metal parts don’t fit together precisely, they can produce tiny metal shavings that can then enter the patient’s system.
This metal debris can cause inflammatory reactions, tissue damage, and bone loss around the area of the ball and socket connection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website contains reports that suggest systemic effects likecardiomyopathy (deterioration of the function of the heart muscle), thyroid dysfunction, and neurological changes including sensory, auditory, and visual impairment which may result from metal debris around the joint.
If the metal debris travels throughout the body, it can cause metallosis, a buildup of metal which kills surrounding tissue (necrosis). Symptoms of metallosis include pain around the joint, difficulty walking, swelling at the implant site, and rash.
Metallosis can lead to osteolysis, in which a bone degenerates, causing an implanted device to become loose. If a device loosens, it must be removed and replaced through a second surgery known as a “revision.”
According to the FDA: “All artificial hip replacement systems have risks related to implant or material wear. Metal-on-metal hip (MoM) replacement systems have unique risks in addition to the general risks of all hip implant systems.”
- General risks of hip implant systems include:
- Hip dislocation
- Bone fracture
- Joint inflammation
- Local nerve damage causing numbness or weakness
- Device loosening or breaking
- Different leg lengths
- Bone loss (osteolysis)
When you add to these the danger of complications that could arise from metallic debris, it is clear that patients who have implanted metal-on-metal hip replacements indeed face unique and serious risks. That is why lawsuits are beginning to be filed on behalf of patients who have suffered severe pain, debilitating infections, and other injuries from metal on metal hips.
If you or a loved one have a metal on metal hip implant, and need to discuss your legal options, contact please feel free to call our office for a free consultation. We can be reached toll free at (800) 443-4529 or fill out the form on this page and we will contact you.