Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Side Effects
Learn more about side effects and injuries associated with defective metal-on-metal hip replacements
Hip Implant Failure
Hip implants are not designed to last a lifetime, but many of the models on the market are failing earlier and at higher rates than expected. The major causes of hip replacement failure include loosening of the stem and cup, dislocation of the joint, and failure of the stem. The most common symptom of stem loosening is thigh pain, especially during walking.
A number of metal hip replacement models were manufactured using a hard metal called cobalt. As the hip replacement components rub against each other over time, tiny metal flakes are released into the tissue around the hip replacement leading to cobalt toxicity. Common symptoms of cobalt toxicity include inflammation, fever, and low thyroid levels. Severe cases can lead to hearing and vision loss, heart failure, and organ damage.
When hip components made of metal rub each other and release flakes into the body, the result can be a condition known as metallosis. As the metal flakes build up in the adjacent tissue and leach into the bloodstream, patients experience a number of side effects in the area surrounding the hip replacement. Side effects of metallosis include:
• Bone loss
• Tissue death
• Difficulty walking
• Necrosis (tissue death)
Many patients suffering side effects from their hip replacement undergo revision surgery to replace or repair the defective implant. Revision surgery does not always solve problems with metallosis or cobalt poisoning because the metal or cobalt particles already released into the body are still there. Many side effects may remain after revision surgery.