Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

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.

Do I Need an Attorney If I Have a Metal-On-Metal Hip Implant?

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Metal-on-metal hip implants were initially marketed to patients as durable alternatives to ceramic or plastic models. However, metal implants may fail faster than older models and could expose patients to unsafe levels of chromium and cobalt. Patients with cobalt-chromium toxicity may experience debilitating or life-threatening health problems.

Patients may report consistent pain, inflammation, numbness and trouble walking. Metal poisoning can damage the kidneys, thyroid, heart and brain. Patients with cobalt-chromium toxicity may experience neurological and physical problems. Expensive revision surgeries may be necessary to repair the damage caused by metal hip implants.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against metal hip implant manufacturers. Plaintiffs allege the manufacturers designed defective products and failed to warn about the health risks associated with using these products. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics are facing more than 9,700 lawsuits for complications caused by Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants. Most recently, a Texas court ordered Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics to pay $247 million to six patients who experienced major health problems while using Pinnacle implants.

Can an Attorney Help if I Suffer Complications with a Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant?

You may be able to recover compensation if you have experienced some of the health conditions or situations mentioned above. Many metal hip implant products are under recall. It may still be possible to recover compensation even if you are not experiencing symptoms.

Be sure to keep records of medical bills, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy bills, time off work and other documentation of expenses related to your hip implant. These records will help document any damages you or family members have suffered due to your hip implant.

Kershaw, Cook & Talley PC is currently accepting hip implant cases. Compensation from a hip replacement lawsuit could help pay for damages that include medical bills, loss of consortium, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering. We could help you determine whether it would be possible to file a hip implant lawsuit during a free consultation. You can reach us by calling (888) 817-2527 or by describing your situation on our confidential case review form.

How Prevalent is the Issue of Metal Poisoning from Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements?


According to government statistics and studies performed by the Mayo Clinic, the number of hip replacement surgeries performed in the United States has increased substantially in the last few decades. From 2000 to 2010, the number of procedures performed in patients 45 and older more than doubled, from 138,700 to 310,800. Among patients 75 and older, the number grew 92 percent. For those aged 45 to 54, the number grew an astonishing 205 percent.  Millions of people who have undergone hip replacement surgery had their hips replaced with metal-on-metal implants, such as the DePuy Pinnacle hip system. But in recent years, these hip implants have been the cause of serious bodily damage for people who have received them. Because of the way these implants function, chromium and cobalt ions can seep into surrounding tissues, destroying muscle and bone and spreading to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidneys.

How prevalent is this issue?

Wear-related complications are somewhat common for people who have had hip replacements. In fact, one in eight of all total hip replacements requires revision within 10 years, over half of which are due to wear-related complications. The same kind of complication can lead to the release of cobalt and chromium ions, causing metallosis. While the exact number is unknown, we are now facing a situation where millions of hip replacement patients in the United States are potentially at risk.

If you are the recipient of a metal-on-metal hip implant, such as the DePuy Pinnacle, you may be suffering from long-term exposure to cobalt and chromium ions. The resulting damage can lead to pain and suffering. Our law firm has dedicated itself to fighting for the victims of defective hip implants and other medical devices. You can reach our attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley PC by calling 888-817-2527.

Are Women More Sensitive to Negative Side Effects of Hip Replacements?

Acetabular LiningResearch from 2017 indicates that a person’s sex may have some effect on the likelihood of that person suffering complications from total hip or knee replacement surgery. It is thought that an increased rate of hypersensitivity to the metals in joint implants could be to blame.

The study was published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. It states that among patients with unexplained pain following total joint replacement using metal-containing components, women are more likely than men to experience metal sensitization.

The study involved 2,613 patients from a variety of demographics. On average, test subjects were 62 years of age. A majority of them were women. Average time since total joint replacement clocked in at three years, with the majority under two years. On a scale of 1 to 10, women reported higher average pain at 6.8, compared to men’s 6.1.

Testing for Metal Sensitization

All patients involved in the study submitted to blood tests to examine immune cell sensitization to metals. The test involved, the lymphocyte transformation test, is used to determine whether a patient is experiencing hypersensitivity to a variety of metals, which can include cobalt, chromium or nickel – all common in the construction of total hip and knee replacement components.

The results of the blood tests showed that women experienced immune sensitization to metals at a rate of 49 percent, compared to 38 percent for men. In patients experiencing immune sensitization, the severity was found to be much higher in women.

If you are experiencing negative health effects that you believe may be the result of your metal hip or knee replacement, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 or fill out our online contact form.


Can Defective Hip Implants Cause Brain Toxicity?

hipCan the use of artificial hip replacements lead to brain damage? According to new findings presented at the 2017 Health Watch USA Patient Safety Conference, the answer is yes.

Alaskan physicians Stephen Tower and Robert Bridges have been studying patients with artificial hip replacements that present signs of cognitive decline. Through the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, the doctors were able to identify a type of chronic toxic encephalopathy, called Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy (ACE), in many of their patients. Symptoms of ACE can include:

  • new onset memory loss
  • vision and hearing problems
  • Parkinsonism
  • nerve damage
  • diminished mentation
  • fatigue
  • weakness or imbalance
  • mood swings
  • pan
  • weight loss
  • blindness
  • other symptoms

It is thought that this condition is caused when mechanical failure or corrosion of metal hip replacement causes chromium-cobalt alloy to leak out of the joint. From there, it travels throughout the body.

The doctors expressed concerns that the symptoms of ACE may be misdiagnosed as age related or permanent progressive dementia, which could delay or prevent treatment. Among patients who were diagnosed with ACE, the median length of time for the onset of neurological symptoms was around seven years. Most ACE symptoms begin to manifest one year prior to hip symptoms (pain, weakness, loosening) occur.

If you or a loved one have suffered the above symptoms and have been outfitted with a metal-on-metal hip implant, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional. You may also be eligible for damages caused by a defective implant. Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our online contact form.


Defective Hip Settlements: Do I Have To Take What The Defendants Are Offering?

In the past few months, several large hip manufacturers have announced global settlements programs in an effort to resolve thousands of lawsuits alleging that their hips were defective.  In almost all of these cases, the amounts being offered by the defendants do not reflect the true settlement value of the cases.  However, despite the small amounts being paid, most plaintiffs are settling their cases as part of these settlement program.  In considering a settlement, here are important things to consider.

  • The decision to settle your case is yours and yours alone.  If you have an attorney that is telling you that “you have to settle your case” for an amount that you believe is less than what you deserve, get a second opinion.  When getting a second opinion, try to find an attorney who is active in the litigation and has a large number of cases.  Most plaintiffs’ attorneys would be happy to speak with you free of charge.
  • Understand that in settling large mass hip cases, the defendants really have two points of leverage.  First, because there are thousands of similar cases clogging the courthouse, they can make you wait.  If you decide not to participate in a global settlement program, the only way to get the defendant to pay what your case is worth is to get a trial date.  In most cases, judges are not interested in setting cases for trial until all the other cases have been settled.  This can often take years.  Second, the defendants in these hip cases rely heavily on the fact that many plaintiff’s lawyers who file them do not have the financial resources to try one to a jury.  The defendants know that these attorneys will often pressure their clients to accept settlement that are less than they deserve.
  • Know that you if you do not settle your case, you may have to wait years for a better settlement is offered.  Many plaintiffs, especially those who are older, are not willing to wait.
  • Understand that when a settlement is offered you have to take into account the “deductions.”  In almost all cases, there are three items that will come out of your settlement; attorney’s fees, expenses, and insurance liens.  Make sure your attorney lists all of these deductions out and tells you what your “net settlement” will be before you sign any settlement documents.  The only exception to this advice has to do with “insurance liens.”  Insurance liens constitute the amount that you have to pay to your health insurance company from your settlement for any treatment it paid for that is associated with your defective hip.  Determining the amount of an “insurance lien” requires negotiations with your health insurance company and these negotiations can often take several weeks or months.  You may not know the amount of the lien by the deadline for accepting a settlement.  However, your attorney should be able to determine the maximum amount of the lien be examining your medical bills.
  • Feel free to ask your lawyer questions.  In most hip cases, the injuries suffered by plaintiffs are substantial and once your case is settled, its settled forever.  Make sure your attorney answers every question you have and that you are satisfied with his answers.  If you are not receiving acceptable answers or you lose faith in your lawyer, get a new lawyer.  In most states, the law permits plaintiffs to switch lawyers without paying any additional fees.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your recalled or defective hip, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 for a free case consultation.

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update: Your Attorney

Hi, this is Stuart Talley. I am the partner here responsible for the DePuy Pinnacle litigation at our firm. The reason I am doing this video is to answer a question many people have asked us over the years.

We get calls many times from people who have cases on file with other lawyers who are seeking information about the litigation, and about what is going on with their case.  It seems that a common problem is people are not getting information about the case, or about the litigation, from their lawyers. We hear people voicing their concern that they’re not able to contact their lawyer. So, I wanted to give some advice on how to deal with that kind of situation.

The first option you should consider is when you call your attorney’s office it’s important that you ask to speak with the attorney directly. Many times paralegals, assistants, or secretaries may not have the kind of in-depth knowledge that you need about your case or about the litigation; ask to speak directly to your attorney. If he or she is not available, ask for their email address. Send them an email. That’s often a very good way to get in touch with your attorney especially on that’s very busy and is often out of the office.

The other option is asking for your attorney’s cell phone number. At my firm, we give all our clients my personal cell phone number and they can reach me when I am traveling or anytime. If you ask for your attorney’s cell phone number at the beginning of the case, they should give it to you. They should be accessible.

If phone calls and emails don’t work, you should send a letter to your attorney explaining that you are not happy with the communication, with the information that’s provided, and you would like more regular updates. Letters almost always get responded to.

Now, if you’ve tried the former suggestions and you’re still not getting a response or getting adequate information, the last resort is that you are always free to fire your attorney. The law in almost every state gives clients the absolute right to change attorneys at any time. If you are not getting information from your attorney and they’re not responding to your inquiries adequately, you can send them a letter indicating you are going to retain a new attorney. Now, almost all states have laws that give clients the absolute right to change attorneys.

Typically, the way it works with fees is that, if you’re on a contingency fee agreement, the new attorney will almost always match the fee agreement of your previous attorney. So, if your previous attorney was charging 40%, the new attorney will charge 40%. This does not mean you have to pay 80%. The laws in almost every state are that if someone changes attorneys the client will not have to pay more in fees. So, the fee will remain the same. The fee will then be divided among your old attorney and new attorney. It will be divided based on the amount of work that each attorney contributed to your case.

If you change attorneys early on in the litigation, and the new attorney takes your case, and works it up and gets it ready for trial (or settlement), that attorney will usually get most of the 40% fee. Conversely, if you change attorneys at the last minute, right before you go to trial, your previous attorney will get most of the fee. It is important to know it will not cost you anything extra. As the client, you have a right to change attorneys. Even if the attorney puts something in their contract that says,  “you’re going to have to pay me a fee even if you fire me”, this is not valid to make you pay more than the agreed-upon percentage.

This is my advice to people who call me and are concerned about their attorneys not responding to them. If you have any other questions or concerns, or you want some more advice on what you can do, feel free to give us a call.

Stay tuned. Opening statements started this morning. We will have more updates  soon.

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