Metal-on-metal hip replacements (commonly known as MoM implants) were designed to be extremely durable and long-lasting. The metal parts were supposed to be virtually free from corrosion and last longer than their counterpart plastic hip replacement. But, what patients, doctors, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not realize is that MoM implants have their own unique risks that can be deadly. If you, like so many Americans, have suffered the consequences of MoM implants, you need to speak with a metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible. You likely have legal options that could help you with your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
John Foy & Associates has over 20 years of experience dealing with medical injury cases like yours. We know how debilitating metal-on-metal hip implants can be—and we want to help. We can put our understanding, know-how, and driver to work for you. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is a metal-on-metal hip implant?
In a MoM hip implant, there is both a metal ball and metal cup in place of your hip socket. The design is remarkably similar to your natural bones. Like your bones, these two pieces rub against each other while you run or walk. But, your bones have protective lining in between them to avoid bone damage while you make these types of movements. In a metal-on-metal implant, there is no such protection. The metal pieces grind against each other. And, over time, the metal can wear down, releasing tiny metal shards into your body. These small metal pieces, made from cobalt and chromium, can enter the bloodstream. The build-up of metal in your body can have an array of horrible side effects. It can also be fatal.
Doctors try to minimize the risk that these metal shards will go into your body. But, it is impossible to prevent entirely—unless you use a different type of hip implant. Not everyone will react to having this metal in their body. Some people have terrible adverse effects while others may not even notice that they have metal in the body for some time. Experts have been unable to predict with certainty:
- Who will react
- How they will react
- When the reaction may happen
- How severe the reaction may be
Other potential side effects include:
- Corrosion of the metal
- General wear and tear can reduce mobility and function
The device can cause damage to the surrounding tissue. This type of condition is often referred to as “adverse local tissue reaction.” It can result in:
- Pain around the implant site
- Implant loosening
- Device failure
- Need for revision surgery
- Damage to the surrounding bone, nerves, and muscle
Who is at risk for an adverse reaction to a metal-on-metal implant?
Anyone who has a MoM implant may suffer an adverse reaction to the implant. But, certain people have higher risks. The FDA has indicated that these individuals have a higher frequency of problems with their MoM implant compared to others:
- Those who have hip implants on both sides
- Female patients
- Those who use small femoral heads (the device is smaller or equal to 44 mm)
- Patients who have a history of kidney problems
- Those who get high doses of corticosteroids
- Patients who have suppressed or weak immune systems
- Severely overweight patients
- Those who have high levels of physical activity
- Anyone who may have a metal sensitivity
Reactions vary a great deal. If you fall into any of the descriptions above, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor regularly. Even if you aren’t on the list above, be sure to talk to your doctor if you feel like you have any adverse side effects associated with your implant.
According to the FDA, hip revisions surgery is only necessary if you’re having problems with your hip implant. Issues that trigger that need for another surgery often include:
- Loosening of the device
- Device fracture
- Local or systemic reactions to the metal from the implant
What are the complications from having metal in your bloodstream from a metal-on-metal hip implant?
Research has indicated that when a MoM implant releases ions in the blood, the spike of metal in the blood continues indefinitely. The most common complications related to increased metal in the blood are set out below.
- Pain Roughly one-in-five patients will have revision surgery because of the pain associated with metal-on-metal implants. The metal shards in the body are often to blame for this pain increase. Those with lower cobalt levels reported the least pain and generally better outcomes.
- Genetic problems. Increasing the amount of metal in your body can have a harmful effect on your cells. They can affect the very genetic makeup of your cells. These abnormalities may even lead to the development of cancer. One European study found that there is an association between those who have had joint replacement surgery and the development of cancer. Although that study dealt with knees, in particular, the risk may apply those who have had hip implants as well. Other studies show that MoM implants may be connected to reproductive problems, gene damage, and chromosomal instability. This reaction is similar to being exposed to radiation.
- Metal toxicity. Exposure to too much metal can result in metal toxicity generally or cobalt and chromium toxicity. Metal toxicity can be deadly—it may cause heart failure and dementia in particular. Other more common side effects include tinnitus or adverse effects on your hearing, vertigo (regular dizziness), mood disorders, hypothyroidism, skin rashes, tremor, and visual disturbances.
If you experience any of these warning signs, see your doctor immediately. Pain can signal that there is a severe problem that needs to be addressed right away, and metal toxicity can be fatal.
Talk to a Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Lawsuit Lawyer for Free
If metal-on-metal implants have negatively impacted you or a loved one, you don’t have to just sit back and take it. You may be able to recover damages for the losses you have experienced because of these dangerous medical devices. But don’t wait until it is too late—there are time limits that apply to your claim. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.