The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) says more than 1 million metal-on-metal prosthetic hips have been implanted worldwide since 1996. Unfortunately, many of these all-metal hip recipients have experienced serious side effects due to the metal components’ wearing away and metal flakes passing into surrounding soft tissue. When metal ions from the flakes pass into the bloodstream, other parts of the body can be damaged.
Symptoms of All-Metal Hip Problems
Flakes of metal that rub off of the moving parts in a metal-on-metal hip implant can cause a reaction called metallosis around the joint. This is deterioration in soft tissue (fibrosis) or death of soft tissue cells (necrosis). As the artificial joint wears away, and damaged tissue breaks down, the implant comes loose. This can lead to pain and mobility problems.
Another problem is that the small bits of worn metal from an all-metal hip implant can emit metal ions that enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. This can cause such reactions as:
- Skin rash (general hypersensitivity reaction)
- Disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- Neurological changes such as auditory or visual impairment
- Psychological changes such as depression or cognitive impairment
- Impaired kidney (renal) function
- Thyroid dysfunction causing neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold.
If you have contacted your doctor because of any of the above symptoms, the doctor might assess soft tissue damage around a metal-on-metal implant by ordering an MRI, CAT scan or ultrasound. Blood work may also be performed to determine if you have a high concentration of metal ions in your bloodstream.
In cases of infection, hip dislocation or loosening or breakage of the implant itself, revision surgery (replacement of the implant) is usually the recommended course of action. Symptoms of local or body-wide reactions to the metal from your hip implant, such as those above, would also likely prompt a recommendation of revision surgery.
Legal Options for those Experiencing Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Side Effects
Metal-on-metal hip implant patients who undergo revision surgery have a right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, including revision surgery and physical therapy, as well as for pain and suffering and other losses.
Patients who have endured revision surgery to replace a metal-on-metal hip implant might pursue a lawsuit in state or federal court. Because these lawsuits can become far-reaching and complex legal fights, a lawsuit against an all-metal hip implant manufacturer should be pursued with the help of an experienced product liability attorney.
If you have needed surgery to replace an all-metal prosthetic hip or believe you have otherwise sustained injury from a faulty hip implant, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. today. We can take action right away to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
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