If you received a metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt, you may already be aware that researchers have discovered these implants fail more often, and may also leak toxic metal fragments into the body. In some cases, toxic metal hip replacements can cause permanent tissue damage, bone loss, blindness, deafness, heart damage, and lifelong disability.
Do I Have a Hip Replacement Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has been injured by a toxic metal hip replacement, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a hip replacement lawsuit.
Hip Replacement Overview
Hip replacements have been widely-used since the 1950s. Older products utilized metal-on-ceramic or plastic designs. These designs had a long history and a relatively good risk-benefit safety profile. Then, in the 1990s, hip replacement manufacturers created metal-on-metal designs. Manufacturers believed that they would last longer than other types of hip replacements, making them ideal for active or young hip replacement recipients.
These devices were approved by the FDA even though the manufacturers never conducted clinical safety studies. Why? The manufacturers and the FDA agreed that the devices were “substantially similar” to devices already on the market, and therefore no safety studies were necessary.
The problem with hip replacements is that if there are problems, they often take many years to emerge. By the time health regulatory agencies became aware that metal-on-metal design could be potentially toxic, hundreds of thousands of Americans were implanted with the toxic, potentially defective devices.
Though two metal-on-metal hip replacement designs have been recalled (DePuy Orthopaedic’s Pinnacle and ASR hip replacements) the devices continue to be marketed, sold, and implanted in unsuspecting patients.
Toxic Metal in Hip Replacements
A metal-on-metal hip replacement consists of a metal “ball” and a metal “socket,” which rub together when a person walks. Over time, the friction between the ball and socket can cause microscopic fragments of metal to detach and leak into the surrounding tissues. These particles can also leak into the bloodstream.
Over time, a person can suffer toxic metal poisoning. This is also known as metallosis, and it occurs when metal ions accumulate in the muscles and tissues surrounding a metal hip replacement. There have been reports of people with Serum Cobalt Levels that are 100-times greater than what is normally expected.
BMJ Study of Toxic Metal Hip Replacements
European researchers and regulators were the first to raise alarm about the risks of metal-on-metal hip implants. Though the use of these devices has waned in Europe, they continue to be marketed, sold, and implanted in the United States on a regular basis. The European regulators are now calling for a ban of the devices.
In a study published in the Lancet, the researchers found that metal-on-metal hip replacements had a higher risk of failing prematurely and could also leak toxic metal particles in a person’s bloodstream.
The researchers found that:
- 6.2.% of the metal hip replacements failed prematurely at 5 years. This number is significantly higher than 2.3% failure-rate of ceramic designs, and 1.7% failure rate of plastic designs
- Women who are implanted with large-ball metal designs were more than four times more likely to suffer failure of the device
As a result of this study and other research, European regulatory agencies announced in April 2010 that they would recommend that all people implanted with the toxic metal hip replacements should undergo regular health examinations for at least 5 years after being implanted with the device. They recommended blood tests to monitor for toxic levels of chromium and cobalt. They also recommended imaging tests for all patients who had pain in their implant.
One of the risks of a metal hip replacement is cobalt poisoning. People who suffer this side effect may suffer permanent disability, including blindness, deafness, heart damage, neurological damage, and more. The tissues and bone surrounding the hip replacement may also be permanently damaged.
Symptoms of cobalt poisoning include:
- Visual impairment (blindness)
- Cardiomyopathy (heart failure)
- Cognitive impairment
- Auditory impairment (deafness)
- Peripheral neuropathy
People who have kidney problems or impaired renal function have a higher risk of suffering from this side effect.
Do I have a Hip Replacement Lawsuit?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free toxic metal hip replacement lawsuit review.