What is Metallosis?
For most people, having hip replacement surgery comes as a great relief once they are back on their feet, and the majority of patients find a renewed mobility and no more pain or stiffness. However, a growing number of hip replacement patients have suffered serious complications that have resulted in a diminished quality of life and impacted their future.
Hip replacement surgery has been on the rise over the past two decades, but as time has gone on, there has been a steady rise in long-term complications, particularly for those who received surgeries with metal-on-metal components that were most common in the early 2000s. These metal-on-metal hip replacements were meant to serve as long-lasting replacements, particularly for younger or more active patients, but some of these patients are now suffering from Metallosis.
Metallosis, also known as metal poisoning, is one potential side effect of metal-on-metal hip implants, and occurs when metal grinds together, causing small particles of cobalt or chromium to leak into the patient’s bloodstream or the surrounding tissues. The buildup of metallic debris in the soft tissue of the body leads to an increase in the levels of metal in their system and can cause complications ranging from tissue and bone death, organ damage, or failure of the implant.
The most common symptoms associated with metallosis are extreme pain, even when not moving, swelling and inflammation, dislocation, bone deterioration, muscle and tendon breakdown, loosening of the implant, or metal toxicity in the bloodstream. Sometimes a pseudotumor, or pocket of fluid, can also develop in the area of the hip implant. Further complications occur if metal poisoning enters the bloodstream and can affect the nervous system, skin and other organs, or cause thyroid or heart problems.
These symptoms take time to develop following surgery, usually not appearing until nine months after surgery or less than four years at the longest. More often than not, these complications will require additional surgery in order to remove the metal implant and replace it with a ceramic-on-metal or plastic-on-metal implant. The need for additional surgery can be complicated by weakened bone or tissue damage from the metallosis, and any surgery also exposes patients to the risk of blood clots, infection, or complications from anesthesia.
The high rate of failure for a number of metal-on-metal hip implants led to a recall by the Food and Drug Administration, including the Smith & Nephew R3 Metal Liners of the R3 Acetabular System, DePuy ASR TM XL Acetabular System, and the Zimmer Durom® Acetabular Component, but complications are not limited to these devices.
Doctors can diagnose metallosis by doing blood tests on the patient in order to look for elevated levels. In the early stages, metallosis is often present with no symptoms, meaning that most patients inadvertently wait until complications from metallosis have gotten much worse and the situation has deteriorated.
If you’ve received a metal-on-metal hip implant with no adverse symptoms, then it is still important to see your doctor every year for a complete physical examination and routine X-ray of the hip replacement in order to keep watch of the situation.
If you’ve already suffered complications from your hip replacement surgery, then you may have legal options in order to seek compensation for the injuries and damages that you have incurred. Patients who have suffered from metallosis due to a hip implant have successfully filed product liability lawsuits against manufacturers to cover damages for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more.
The team at Fears Nachawati understands the frustration and anguish felt by those who have suffered from a surgical procedure that was meant to help them and improve their quality of life, whose consequences or complications they were never warned about, and we are fully prepared to help victims recover from this devastating blow. Our law firm is one of the leading firms in the great state of Texas for medical malpractice and surgery claims and we are ready to fight for you.
If you or a loved one has suffered severe injury or complications as a result of a hip replacement procedure, then the legal team at Fears Nachawati is here to help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact our experienced team today for a free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.