Cobalt Chromium Toxicity Resource Center

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.


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