Metal Blood Tests Vital In Hip Recall Cases

Monitoring levels of metal ions in the blood is critical for patients implanted with metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants, especially the recalled DePuy hip replacement. High levels of metal ions in the blood are dangerous and indicative of MoM hip replacement failure. Despite the popularity of MoM devices in the past decade, research has shown that […]

Monitoring levels of metal ions in the blood is critical for patients implanted with metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants, especially the recalled DePuy hip replacement. High levels of metal ions in the blood are dangerous and indicative of MoM hip replacement failure.

Despite the popularity of MoM devices in the past decade, research has shown that the implants are prone to early failure with the metal components rubbing against each other and releasing metal particles into the body. In the recalled DePuy hip replacement, the ball rides out towards the edge of the cup (called “edge loading”), shedding cobalt and chromium particles. The more loose metal ions found in the body, the more likely it is that the hip replacement has failed and needs to be removed.

The area surrounding the artificial hip joint is the first affected by metal particles. In some cases, damage to surrounding tissue and bone may contribute to the loosening of a hip device. The metal ions may also make their way into a patient’s blood stream. Studies have shown that, when large quantities of metal ions are flowing through the body, deafness, blindness, neurological problems, headaches, weakness, and heart problems may result. Initial studies of the effects of certain quantities of metal ions in the body, while not conclusive, suggest that high levels of metal ions in the blood are a cause for alarm.

Hip replacement recipients with MoM and especially MoM DePuy hip replacements should regularly have their blood tested by a doctor or lab center for concentrations of metal ions. The results will indicate whether the hip device is failing and allow doctors to take steps to prevent further damage.

Patients should seek the advice of their orthopaedic surgeon if blood tests reveal high levels of metal ions. If the orthopaedic surgeon confirms that the MoM hip device is failing, the patient should seek legal advice.

 

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