Cobalt-Chromium Toxicity Resource Center


Do Elevated Cobalt Levels Lead to Long-Term Health Risks?

Photo of Surgeons Working at the Operating Table

Cobalt exposure can lead to significant health problems. Patients with metal-on-metal hip implants that contain cobalt can develop numerous short and long-term health complications.

What Health Conditions Can Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants Cause?

Metal-on-metal hip implants can release metal ions into the bloodstream, which can result in many long-term health issues. These symptoms can be devastating, causing health issues that can keep patients from working, walking or enjoying life. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists these issues as:

  • Hip and groin pain
  • Swelling
  • Changes in your ability to walk
  • Deterioration of tissue around the joint
  • Reactions to metal ions

Patients may experience implant loosening, implant failure, metallosis or pseudotumors. Removal of the offending prosthetic may be necessary in order to relieve these symptoms. This is why it is important to communicate with your doctor after a hip replacement. When following up with your orthopaedic surgeon, be sure to mention any changes in your health. You should also let the surgeon know if you are seeing another physician for a new condition.

You can also contact an attorney if you suspect that your hip implant is defective. The experience of the product liability attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley, P.C. can help you with this process. Call us at (888)817-2527 if you have questions about your metal-on-metal hip implant.

Can My Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Cause a Pseudotumor?

Metal-on-metal hip implants can cause many long-lasting health problems for patients. But pseudotumors may be one of those health problems that you haven’t heard much about. Here are the details that you need to know:

How Are Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Linked to Pseudotumors?

According to Radiopaedia, a pseudotumor is a mass-forming tissue reaction that results from the irritation of hip tissue connected to your metal-on-metal hip implant. They can grow without causing any obvious symptoms for months or years. Once symptoms are severe, there is likely extensive tissue damage that has already occurred.

Some pseudotumors can be small and may not cause any lasting issues. However, pseudotumors can sometimes cause severe pain, inflammation and destruction to the surrounding hip joint. Symptoms of a pseudotumor include:

  • Pain in the hip joint and groin
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Clicking sounds in the hip area
  • Hip joint misalignment
  • A decrease in walking ability and motion

It is vital that you make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that could be related to a pseudotumor. If you believe that a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement is responsible for your pseudotumor, contact the attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation. You can learn more about our experience with defective hip cases by continuing to explore our website.

Understanding the Symptoms of Metallosis


Metal-on-metal hip replacement systems can lead to serious health complications. These products, such as DePuy’s Pinnacle hip replacement system, can expose patients to chromium and cobalt metal toxicity. Metallosis is a type of metal poisoning that can occur when using metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. The symptoms and health complications caused by cobalt toxicity may include:

  1. Pseudotumors: a mass forming around the hip joint caused by a reaction to the metal-on-metal hip. It is also known as aseptic lymphocyte-dominant vasculitis-associated lesion, or ALVAL.
  2. Osteolysis: commonly known as bone loss. Over time, the metal particles released from the implant can cause damage to bone surrounding the joint. Surgeons are then faced with poor bone stock and/or poor bone quality during a revision total hip replacement.
  3. Tissue/muscle death: Muscle atrophy and even necrosis (death) are typically seen in patients with MoM hip implants. When atrophy affects the gluteus minimus and/or gluteus medius (certain muscles in the buttocks), the surgeon may have to perform an abductor repair during revision.
  4. Hip/groin pain: This symptom may be a sign your hip is failing. It is important to follow up with your primary care physician and/or orthopedist to undergo imaging (e.g. MARS MRI) that may shed more light on the source of your pain. It is recommended you also test for cobalt and chromium toxicity.
  5. Adverse local tissue reactions (ALTR): sometimes referred to as adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD) are general terms for when the metal particles cause destruction to the bone or tissue of the hip joint, leading to pain, loosening of the component, and device failure.

We have more information on our website that can explain what to do if your hip replacement system was recalled. Feel free to give us a call with any questions or concerns you have regarding your metal-on-metal hip implant.

Can Cobalt and Chromium Ions from My Hip Replacement Cause Organ Damage?

hipMany hip implants contain metals, including chromium and cobalt, that are toxic. Metal ions released from the friction of metal-on-metal implants can cause pain, pseudotumors, and other problems surrounding the joint. But did you know that these ions can travel systemically throughout the body and find their way into organ tissues?

A team of researchers investigating defective metal-on-metal hip implants used X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to show that these metal ions can find their way into organ tissues, such as the liver, spleen and heart. Depending on whether the patient suffers from other chronic health conditions, it is possible for some of these ions to oxidize within the organs and form more dangerous substances, leading to debilitating and potentially deadly conditions, including cancers.

Systemic release and absorption of metal ions from defective hip implants puts patients at serious risk. Further toxicological studies are necessary to determine which patients are at high risk of tissue damage, cancer, and other systemic issues.

What Do I Do If I Believe My Hip Implant Is Harming Me?

Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at (888) 817-2527 to schedule a free consultation. We represent hundreds of metal-on-metal hip replacement patients who have relied on us for decades to provide our knowledge and expertise in fighting and winning cases for victims of defective medical devices. You should not have to suffer due to a recalled or defective hip implant, and we are prepared to help you and your family.

How Do I Reduce the Risk of Cobalt Toxicity from a Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant?


When a person undergoes surgery to receive a metal-on-metal hip implant, there is a future risk of being exposed to chromium and cobalt ions that scrape off the implant due to friction. Symptoms of exposure may include localized pain, severe inflammation and swelling, evidence of tissue death, evidence of bone loss and asymptomatic masses. Other symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, visual impairment, headaches, mood changes and rashes.

Any person who has a metal hip implant and experiences the above symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Blood tests can be used to identify whether a person has too much cobalt or chromium in his or her blood. The longer a person is exposed to elevated cobalt or chromium levels, the worse the prognosis. If caught early, there is a much better chance of a full recovery.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Minimize My Risk of Cobalt-Chromium Toxicity?

If you have had your hip replaced with a metal-on-metal implant, you should always be alert for the signs of cobalt-chromium toxicity. If you have kidney disease or a compromised immune system, you are at a higher risk of complications. Even if you are not having symptoms, it is still possible that you are being exposed to unhealthy amounts of cobalt and chromium ions; after all, it can take years for the condition to become symptomatic. The best way to protect yourself is to have your blood frequently tested for unsafe cobalt or chromium levels. Some doctors advocate getting tested once per year; others say that as often as once every three months is the best practice to follow.

Cobalt-chromium toxicity is but one of many potential problems caused by metal-on-metal hip implants. Many lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who have suffered complications related to hip implants. If you have been injured or had to undergo painful procedures due to your hip implant, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley PC at (888) 817-2527.

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