Erosion of the Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant: A Look at the Negative Effects of Metal Hip Replacements
For those who have experienced hip joint deterioration, they know the pain and stiffness that accompanies it and how it can create great difficulty in walking. When the pain and stiffness becomes too great, some patients turn to the respite of a hip replacement or hip resurfacing. One of these systems, the metal-on-metal hip implant device, has both ball and socket joints made of metal. Although the metal-on-metal hip implant systems, including the DePuy ASR™ Hip System, the DePuy Pinnacle® Hip System, and the Zimmer Durom® Cup, have some benefits such as resilience (lessened likelihood of dislocation and device fracture), they have been under harsh review due to the negative side effects some patients endured.
It has been discovered that small metal particles can wear off the device when movement such as walking, running, or other activities cause friction of the ball and socket joint. The particles have had different effects in different patients. The metal particles may enter the bone or tissue surrounding the implant or could even enter the bloodstream. This erosion of the hip implant can lead to discomfort, pain, and damage to the surrounding tissue and even the subsequent loosening of the metal-on-metal joint itself. Although in the minority, some patients have experienced negative reactions to the metal ions that have entered their bloodstreams. These ions can affect the heart, central nervous system, and even the thyroid. Some of these symptoms are listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administraion (FDA) website, entitled “Concerns about Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Systems.”
Signs of Possible Hip Implant Erosion
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the below symptoms, you should immediately consult with a physician as they could indicate a severe problem with your metal-on-metal hip implant device.
The symptoms below may indicate that your hip implant has been eroding, causing metal particles to embed in your bone or tissue, or that your implant may be loosening.
-Pain or inflammation in the hip area
-Pain in the leg or groin
-Stiffness, limping, or persisting difficulty walking
The symptoms listed below may be indicative of a negative reaction to metal ions that the implant has released.
-Shortness of breath
-Changes in hearing
-Altered urination habits (increased or decreased frequency)
While these symptoms are not necessarily related to problems with the implant device itself, it is crucial to consult with your orthopedic surgeon and have a physical exam. Imaging tests and blood tests will help to determine if there is, indeed, an issue with your prosthetic.
What to Do if You Are Experiencing Hip Implant Side Effects
Further surgery may be required for those patients who have experienced severe side effects relating to the DePuy ASR™, DePuy Pinnacle®, Zimmer Durom® and other metal hip resurfacing and replacement systems. The expense of the actual surgical procedure and resultant recovery time could be considerable and crippling to many patients. An option to prevent financial insecurity during a time of physical insecurity is to file a lawsuit and seek financial compensation for the cost of surgery and time off from work. The injured patient and his/her family will then be able to turn their focus onto their recovery and move forward without the weight of crippling financial harm.
In July 2008, the Zimmer Durom® Acetabular Component was voluntarily recalled, as was the DePuy ASR™ XL Acetabular in August 2010. If you or a loved one are still living with one of these devices, or if you have experienced adverse side effects related to these or other hip implant devices, contact Csengeri Law Offices to learn about your options.
Stephen Csengeri of Csengeri Law Offices himself made the first claim against Zimmer for their defective Durom cup and negotiated the very first settlement for his own claim. His personal experience will help guide you through your free and confidential review of your case and help you to best determine your next step in finding solutions.