Before hip replacement surgeons started using metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, most systems came equipped with polyethylene liners within the socket part of the synthetic joint. These liners typically work well for 12-15 years, but often need to be replaced shortly thereafter. More durable metal-on-metal systems were developed to address the needs of younger patients who typically lead a more active lifestyle, causing extra wear and tear on the joint. The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system is an example of a metal-on-metal system that has made news recently.
There has yet to be a Pinnacle recall, but there is a new risk associated with the product that could lead to serious harm in patients.
Some surgeons removing metal-on-metal hip replacement systems from patients have found significant damage in the surrounding tissue resulting from metal toxicity—also called “metallosis.” The supposed cause of this new issue is that the metal parts that rub against each other cause pieces of metal to flake off into the surrounding tissue.
The symptoms of metal toxicity vary based on the amount of metal that has built up and the location within the body in which the substance has accumulated. Metal toxicity can directly affect soft tissue in which it embeds itself, but may also affect the nervous, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems. Most often the patient will suffer from unusual feelings of disorientation and confusion, accompanied by a general feeling of malaise. These symptoms are vague and therefore may not immediately indicate to the patient that she is suffering from metal toxicity, but if you have a metal-on-metal hip replacement system such as the DePuy Pinnacle, then experiencing such symptoms should set off red flags and you should immediately see a doctor.
Metal toxicity is typically diagnosed through analysis of a hair sample. If the testing reveals that there is an abnormally high concentration of metals in the sample, then the patient will undergo treatment for metal toxicity. Treatment ranges based on the severity of the diagnosis, but doctors will typically provide the patient with drugs designed to carry the metals out of the body, such as Vitamin C. Any residual damage to tissue will be evaluated and addressed after flushing the metals out of the sufferer’s body.
Metal toxicity is a serious problem, and if you have suffered from the condition because of your metal-on-metal hip replacement system, you may be able to seek legal retribution. The attorneys at the Rottenstein Law Group are here to help you determine if you have a claim. For a free consultation with RLG, fill out this simple form or call 1 (888) 976-8529.