The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that more than 1 million metal-on-metal prosthetic hips have been implanted worldwide since 1996. Other estimates say about 500,000 of them have been implanted in the U.S.
Although hip replacement surgery can radically improve the quality of life of a person, metal-on-metal hip implants can cause the same adverse side effects as other types of hip implants. These problems can include infection, loosening, bone loss, fractures, clicking or joint dislocation.
Partner Samuel L. Davis of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., has led efforts to obtain compensation for those across the U.S. who have suffered undue harm due to defective metal-on-metal hip implants. He founded and serves as chair of the American Association of Justice’s Orthopedic Implant Litigation Group.
Allow him to put his skill, experience and resources to work for you. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling us at 1-800-LAW-2000. You can also use our online contact form.
Safety Alerts for All-Metal Hip Implants
Medical and consumer safety alerts have been issued around the world concerning the unique problems that result when metal ball-and-socket joints wear away and produce metal flakes. These flakes can pass into surrounding soft tissue. Also, metal ions can pass into the bloodstream.
Due to the metal flaking, patients may experience pain, swelling and loss of mobility. Costly and time-consuming procedures may be needed to diagnose the extent of the damage done to the patient’s hip joint and other body parts. Ultimately, revision surgery may be required.
Metallosis and More from All-Metal Hip Implants
In particular, the metal particles from a metal-on-metal him implant can cause metallosis. This is the name for a reaction around the joint that includes deterioration of soft tissue (fibrosis) or the death of cells in soft tissue around the joint (necrosis). Tissue damage can lead to loosening of the implant and failure of the device.
The side effects can be even more serious when metal ions from a metal-on-metal hip implant enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. The problems can include:
- General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash)
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
- Auditory or visual impairments
- Psychological status change (including depression or cognitive impairment)
- Renal (kidney) function impairment
- Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold).
Individuals vary in how they react to metal ions in their bodies. Some develop reactions in response to a very small amount. Others may have a much larger amount of metal ions in their bodies before they develop a reaction.
Symptoms and Treatment of Metal-On-Metal Hip Implant Problems
If you develop symptoms such as hip/groin pain, local inflammation (swelling), numbness, altered ability to walk or hear a noise when your implant moves, you should contact your orthopaedic surgeon. The surgeon may want to perform a physical exam and other evaluations based on your symptoms.
These evaluations may include cross-sectional imaging, or what is commonly called a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI), computed tomography scan (CT) or ultrasound. These evaluations help to assess soft tissue damage around a metal-on-metal implant. Blood work may also be ordered to diagnose elevated metal ion levels in your bloodstream.
Your surgeon might recommend revision surgery (replacement of the implant) in cases of infection, dislocation, loosening or device fracture. Your surgeon might also consider revision if you develop evidence of local or body-wide reactions to the metal from your hip implant.
If you undergo revision surgery, your surgeon may ask you to allow that the removed implant be sent back to the manufacturer to determine why it failed. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains, you will not be compensated for returning your implant. You may not be notified of the results of the analysis.
Ask the surgeon to instead have the implant returned to you. If you decide to pursue a legal claim for the additional expenses and pain and suffering you have experienced, the hip implant device will serve as evidence in your case.
Contact a Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Lawyer for Help
The New Jersey law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., assists people from across the country that have been harmed by metal-on-metal hip implants. A founding partner of the firm, Samuel L. Davis, has many years of experience with knee- and hip-replacement cases.
To learn more about metal-on-metal hip implant side effects, call us today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or complete our online contact form. There is no charge for an initial consultation, and there is also no charge for our legal services until we obtain an award on your behalf.
- Metallosis due to impingement between the socket and the femoral head in a total hip prosthesis. A case report, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Current Concerns with Metal-on-Metal Hip Arthroplasty, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- FDA Safety Communication: Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- F.D.A. Seeks to Tighten Regulation of All-Metal Hip Implants, New York Times