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Cobalt Poisoning Hip Replacement

The recalled DePuy ASR replacement hips are members of a class of implants known as metal-on-metal devices. Such devices, typically made of metals such as cobalt and chromium, are being increasingly criticized because they have a tendency to release metal flakes into a recipient’s body, which can lead to painful inflammation in addition to the deterioration of bone, tissue, and sinew. Some experts suggest that this is one reason why the ASR units have such a high failure rate. Because they rely on natural bone ingrowth to attach to a patient’s body, damage to and loss of surrounding bone can prevent this from happening.

According to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, “Early failure of metal-on-metal hip arthroplasties is a current concern because tissue damage resulting from periprosthetic metallosis can compromise subsequent revision arthroplasty.” In layman’s terms: metal-on-metal hip implants such as the DePuy ASR units release metal fragments that can damage tissue and make a second hip replacement surgery much more difficult.

The metal-on-metal devices that are the subject of the DePuy hip replacement recall have a failure rate that is much higher than expected, but that isn’t the only problem. The metal components rub together, which releases tiny metal particles (cobalt in particular) into the bloodstream. Metal levels in the body rise over time, eventually leading to metal toxicity or “metallosis.” Some general symptoms of this serious condition include the following:

Brain fog. This is a broad term that describes feelings of confusion and forgetfulness.

Persistent pain. Chronic pain can be felt in almost any area of the body, including the muscles, tendons, and soft tissues.

Persistent feelings of malaise. Chronic malaise means you often feel generally unwell. For instance, you may often feel tired, uncomfortable, or sick.

Gastrointestinal problems. Some specific symptoms associated with gastrointestinal issues are diarrhea, gas, constipation, and trouble digesting foods.

Emotional disturbance. Some side effects that are especially linked to metal toxicity are feelings of anxiety and mood swings. Depression may also be a sign of metal toxicity.

Problems with the nervous system. Some common manifestations may include feelings of burning or numbness in the extremities and tingling in other parts of the body.

In addition, metallosis can cause recurring infections; dizziness and headaches; and allergies to certain foods.

Many people who have metal toxicity because of the particles released from the DePuy devices have cobalt poisoning. Symptoms specifically associated with cobalt poisoning include the following:

Cardiomyopathy. An extremely serious consequence of metal toxicity is a failure of the muscle of the heart to function as it should.

Peripheral neuropathy. This can cause a host of problems including numbness, tingling, and tremors.

Also: Problems with hearing, sight, or cognition; hypothyroidism; and skin rashes.

Are you currently experiencing any of these symptoms? If your hip implant has been recalled, the best way to know for sure whether you have metal toxicity is to visit your doctor. It’s crucial to find out whether you have a potentially harmful buildup of metals in your body, even if you aren’t experiencing any discomfort in the hip area. Metal toxicity can be detrimental to your overall health, and symptoms often worsen over time. You might need to hire a hip replacement lawyer from the Rottenstein Law Group to help you collect compensation in a DePuy hip replacement lawsuit to cover immediate and future medical expenses. Complete our contact form to the right, and one of our attorneys will schedule a consultation with you.