Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

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


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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.

Closing Arguments in the DePuy Pinnacle Trial began October 21, 2014


Closing arguments in the DePuy Pinnacle Trial started Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Closing arguments are essentially where each side, plaintiffs and defendants, summarize the evidence put forth at trial and argue their case to the jury.

In this case, Mark Lanier, the plaintiff’s attorney, will likely argue that DePuy was at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries and the jury should award her damages accordingly.

On the other hand, the defendants will likely argue that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the Pinnacle implant but rather caused by negligence from her doctor, or other factors, and should deny recovery.

DePuy Hip Recall Tweets about Pinnacle Hip Help Website


DePuy Pinnacle Trial Status (Week 7 10/13-10/16)


DePuy Pinnacle Trial Status (Week 7 10/13-10/16)

Monday, October 13th was Columbus Day and the courts were closed.

On Tuesday, October 14th, the defendants called Dr. Roger Emerson, an Orthopedic Independent Medical Examiner, to the stand.

Dr. Emerson returned to the stand on Wednesday, October 15th. His testimony was followed by Dr. Math, an orthopedic radiologist.

Andrew Ekdahl, the ex-president of Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit, returned to the stand via video deposition on Thursday, October 16th. He was followed by Dr. Lisa Pruitt, defense witness, and a mechanical and biomedical engineer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. Her testimony will resume Monday, October 20th.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants and Revision Surgery


Patients undergo hip replacement surgery in order to improve their quality of life. Hip replacement surgery is supposed to increase activity levels, improve range of motion, and ease pain and suffering. Unfortunately, after their index (initial) surgeries, individuals soon find their hip replacement is hindering rather than helping. This is often the case with metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Metal-on-metal hip systems such as the DePuy PinnacleDePuy ASRStryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG IIStryker AccoladeWright Pro Femur and Wright Conserve, have the highest failure rate compared to any other hip implant. Most individuals experience serious complications and subsequent failure with these implants. Complications from metal-on-metal hips include cobalt-chromium toxicity, metallosis, pseudotumors, infection, loosening and implant wear, joint stiffness, and fracture. These complications cause implant failure. Implant failure requires a second surgery, known as a revision surgery. A revision surgery requires removing the failed implant(s) and replacing with a new device.

Revision surgery is more complex and risky than the index surgery because it is more invasive. Therefore, the risk of complications is greater with a revision surgery than initial surgery. The implants are more likely to loosen, migrate, and fracture since the bone and hip joint are severely manipulated from the previous implant.

Hip Surgery: The Importance of Doctor-Patient Communication


An open and honest dialogue with your doctor before surgery contributes to better outcomes. This means providing your physician with a comprehensive medical, surgical, and social history. This also ensures the doctor gives you the best care in creating a plan that fits your specific needs. Before any surgery, it is essential to voice any questions or concerns you might have.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) created a list of questions which may help in discussions with your doctor:

  • What are your experiences with specific hip implant devices and how often do you use one over the other?
  • What are the risks and benefits of different devices (metal-on-metal, metal-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-polyethylene, and ceramic-on-ceramic devices)?
  • If applicable, what is the surgeon’s personal experience and outcomes with the respective devices?
  • If your surgeon recommends a certain device, ask why that hip implant is the best for your situation.
  • What are the major and/or most frequent complications of surgery?
  • Is the skill and experience of the orthopaedic surgeon more important than the device or procedure?
  • Can you give me any information on outcomes and complication rates?
  • If I do not have surgery, what is the risk?
  • How much pain can I expect, and how will it be managed in the hospital and after I go home?
  • How long will the device last, and what can I do to make it last as long as possible?
  • What are the pros and cons of minimally invasive (mini-incision) surgery? Does it really make a meaningful difference in the result, or does it pose unnecessary risks?
  • What will I be able to do/not do after my total joint replacement?
  • Is therapy necessary after surgery?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Will I be able to contact you after the surgery if I have a question or problem?

What should I do if I have a metal on metal hip?


A series of product recalls involving prosthetic hips occurred recently. The design of these hips led to the release of toxic levels of cobalt and chromium (the metal the hips are made of) into the patients who receive them.  These metals cause extensive tissue damage in the hip and other areas of the body. This usually requires additional surgery to repair. Kershaw, Cook & Talley currently handles cases involving the following types of hips: DePuy PinnacleDePuy ASRStryker AccoladeStryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG IIBiomet, and Wright Medical.

Many individuals are unsure what to do when they find out their metal on metal hip is defective or recalled. Kershaw, Cook & Talley recommends the following steps:

A) Find out what name and model hip you have. There are various ways to do this:

  1. Contact your orthopedic surgeon by phone. 
  2. Request a copy of your medical records in writing from the orthopedic surgeon’s office or hospital where the surgery was performed. 
  3. Check your implant card. Often times, after surgery, your doctor gives you an implant card which states the hip name and type. 


B) Check to see if your hip implant was officially recalled (if not, you may still have a case).

  1. You might have received a recall letter notifying you that your hip implant was recalled. 
  2. If you did not receive a letter, ask your doctor if your hip implant was recalled. 


C) Have your blood tested for cobalt and chromium:

  1. Tell your doctor you want to get your blood tested specifically for cobalt and chromium. 


D) Get a MARS MRI:

  1. MARS MRI stands for Metal Artifact Reduction Sequence MRIA MARS MRI is an imaging technique which minimizes metal artifact (i.e. parts of the implant) while maintaining image quality.
  2. You will most likely have to request this imaging study from your orthopedic surgeon. 

F) Call our office for a free case consultation and if you have any more questions regarding your metal-on-metal hip. 

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