One Patient’s Lengthy Illness Linked To All-Metal Hip Allergy

One woman from Denver recently discovered that the source of years of her health problems was lurking inside her body: her all-metal hip implant. The woman, Paula Spurlock, had experienced symptoms of severe allergies including itching, redness, intense pain, swelling and even prolonged migraines for nearly two years before doctors uncovered the source of her irritation.

Spurlock says that after years of poking and prodding by confused doctors, one physician decided to give her a PET scan. Once the scan was complete doctors noticed that her right hip lit up, indicating that it was the possible source of her problems. Though the problem turned out to be related to allergies, a normal allergist was never able to diagnose the condition. It was only after the PET scan was conducted that Spurlock began seeing a specialist who could administer a special allergy test that checked for immune system responses to metals.

Surprising to the doctors involved was that Spurlock was only allergic to one of her two hip implants. The first implant, on her left side, was made of titanium and never produced any negative reaction. The implant in her right hip was made of cobalt and was found to be responsible for her health problems.

Doctors say the allergic reaction presented itself after the cobalt hip implant became defective and began to produce tiny metal shavings every time Spurlock walked. The metal shavings then spread throughout Spurlock’s bloodstream and caused severe allergic reactions across her whole body, making it even more difficult for doctor’s to pinpoint the source of her problems.

Once doctors identified the source of the problem, they removed Spurlock’s defective metal hip and replaced it with a ceramic model that has not caused any problems in the two years since the revision surgery. Doctors say Spurlock’s case is an important one given that they believe there are many more patients who could be allergic to the ingredients in their implants but have no idea the source of their health troubles. Given that more than a million people in the U.S. receive hip or knee replacements each year, checking for allergies and watching for possible device failure is critical to safeguard patients’ wellbeing.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.

Source: “Denver Woman Allergic to Hip Implant,” by, published at


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