Cobalt Chromium Toxicity


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.

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

Hip 2

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.

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