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Defective Hip Replacements May Lead to Severe Metal Poisoning

Image of an artificial metal hip implantHip implants have allowed millions of Americans to regain lost mobility and reduce or even eliminate pain in their lives. However, some of these medical devices aren’t without flaws, and many patients may find themselves with a whole host of new problems arising from a defective implant. Here’s what you need to know about metallosis and hip implants.

Metal Poisoning After a Hip Implant

Many hip replacements have parts made of high-tech metal alloys, including a mix of titanium, nickel, chromium, or molybdenum. Metal-on-metal hip replacements typically involve hardware in which either the ball and the socket or the neck and stem of the new hip joint are both made of metal, creating a potential point of failure where the metal touches.

Metal poisoning, or metallosis, is a serious potential complication that can occur after a defective metal-on-metal device is implanted. As the metal components of the implant rub against one another the hardware breaks down, releasing metal particles into the tissue around the joint and even into the bloodstream. This can cause a number of dangerous symptoms, including the following:

  • Pain or swelling in the hip or groin
  • Numbness
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • Skin rashes across the body
  • Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and heart disease
  • Loss of kidney function or kidney failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone death (necrosis)

Sufferers of metallosis may also experience unusual auditory disturbances or deafness, depression, anxiety, or even blindness as the excess metals affect the nervous system. Defective implants may also cause pseudotumors, or pockets full of fluid that form in the tissue around the defect. As a metal-on-metal implant failure worsens and metallosis progresses, the resulting bone death can lead to the implant becoming loose, causing hip dislocations, bone fractures, and eventually total implant failure.

The treatment for metallosis caused by a hip replacement is most commonly a revision surgery to replace the failing implant with ceramic or plastic parts. Revision surgery can be expensive, dangerous, and may lead to the need for extensive recuperation and rehabilitation afterwards.

What Hip Implant Devices are Affected?

There are many hip implants on the market, but several products have been of particular concern for failure. Some, but not all, products have been recalled from the market. Some of the hip implants at risk include the following products:

  • DePuy ASR
  • DePuy Pinnacle
  • Stryker Rejuvenate
  • Stryker Accolade
  • Stryker LFIT V40
  • Wright Medical Conserve
  • Wright Medical Profemur
  • Zimmer Kinectiv
  • Zimmer ML

DePuy, Stryker, Wright, and Zimmer have all been the target of lawsuits filed by patients who have suffered from metallosis and other side effects after replacement surgery. Some of the allegations against hip implant manufacturers include:

  • Defective product designs that should never have been released to market.
  • Failure to warn doctors or patients about the known risks of hip implant products.
  • Unethical marketing that intentionally misleads consumers.
  • Improper testing procedures leading to unsafe products released on the market.

Over 8,000 lawsuits have been filed against DePuy Orthopedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. In December 2016, DePuy was ordered to pay over $1 billion to six California patients, with a jury finding that the DePuy Pinnacle implant (which had been recalled in 2013) was defective by design and that the company failed to warn consumers of the risks of its product. Earlier in the year, a jury also awarded a patient $500 million due to a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant, and DePuy’s ASR hip implants (recalled in 2010) have cost the company over $2.5 billion in lawsuits over implant failures so far.

Get Legal Help With Your Hip Implant

If you’ve suffered as a result of a defective hip implant, know that you’re not alone. It’s your legal right to seek compensation for damage to your health caused by products that should never have been released on the market. Join thousands of others looking for justice after metallosis and other complications related to defective hip implants.

To talk to an experienced attorney about your hip implant situation, contact Wayne Wright LLP today. We’ve spent decades helping those who have suffered seek justice from companies that sell dangerous or defective medical devices, and we’re here to help you. Call us by phone, use the live chat box, or click the contact link to send us an email and arrange a free consultation with a legal professional.