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Cobaltism is a Grave Danger Associated with Metal on Metal Hip Implant Systems (ie. The DePuy ASR)

Posted On November 15th, 2010 By CSSFIRM.COM

A great concern facing the public now is the failure of metal-on-metal hip arthroplasties.  According to Stephen Tower, the current concern is due to tissue damage resulting from periprosthetic metallosis that can compromise subsequent revision arthroplasty.

In Tower’s article and case report published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, he says that The United Kingdom recently advised their patients with metal-on-metal implants who are experiencing pain, prosthetic malposition or implants that have excessive failure rates need to be evaluated with the level of serum cobalt in their system.

“A serum cobalt level of > 7 mg/L indicates possible periprosthetic metallosis.  A normal serum cobalt level is .19 mg/L and 95% of those who are unexposed to cobalt have a value of <.41 mg/L.  A serum cobalt level of > 1 mg/L indicates excessive cobalt exposure, and levels of >5 mg/L are considered toxic.”

Excessive cobalt can damage a patient’s organs.  Consequences of cobaltism are tinnitus, vertigo, blindness, deafness, peripheral neuropathy, headaches, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, cardiomyopathy, and or hypothyroidism.  There are about six case reports of cobaltism related to arthroplasty implants.  The diagnosis is being called arthroprosthetic cobaltism.

The arthroprosthetic cobaltism, in the case studies mentioned, were attributed to metal-on-metal implants.  The patients in the case study had periprosthetic metallosis from the wear of steel femoral heads by ceramic and their serum cobalt level was >60 mg/L.

More than 34,000 patients since 2005 have received the now recalled DePuy Orthopaedics ASR Hip Implant which utilites the metal on metal system discussed in this and related articles.

Tower advises:  “Surgeons need to be aware that the high serum cobalt levels found in some patients with metal-on-metal hips may cause neurological or cardiac damage that is in part reversible with timely revision surgery.”

Before signing any documents with DePuy or its agent Broadspire, you need to contact an attorney you trust.  Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC continues to investigate and review the claims of patients nationwide who received a DePuy hip implant device since July of 2003. If you or a loved one has received the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System or DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and have experienced some type of hip pain, cobaltism, developed metallosis, required an additional hip surgery, or any of failure with your hip replacement device, you may want to contact CSS Firm for a free case evaluation and consultation. Our experienced team of lawyers will work closely with you and see to it that you get the medical treatment you need and receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

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