As we’ve mentioned numerous times, all-metal hip implant devices have been under an enormous amount of scrutiny in recent years given the information that continues to come out concerning possible safety risks posed to patients. The major recall of DePuy ASR hip implants after unexpectedly high rates of failure were revealed sparked a change in the way the devices were viewed by the medical community.
Since that first recall was announced, study after study has added to the weight of evidence about the dangerous side effects associated with the all-metal devices. One such problem is the metal shavings that are released into patients’ bloodstreams. These metal shavings are thought to be responsible for organ damage, bone and tissue problems and maybe even cancer. A new study published in the journal, Human & Experimental Toxicology, shows that cobalt has been detected in unusual amounts in patients with the implants. Cobalt has long been known for its toxic effects on various systems in the human body as well as its ability to cause allergic reactions and even cancer.
The journal revealed that high levels of cobalt have been found in patients with the all-metal hip implants who have complained of various symptoms including ringing in the ear, deafness, dizziness, blurry vision, peripheral neuropathy and vision loss. The exposure to the cobalt appears to have occurred due to movement in the device producing very small amounts of materials that are shed.
The research also pointed out that there are other studies which have shown that cobalt levels rise following the implantation of an artificial hip device. Researchers claim that cobalt levels were higher in the first two years following surgery and then again when devices first began to fail. Sadly, the journal article said that metal implant devices are the most common source of cobalt exposure today.
Another study that casts further doubt on the continued use of all-metal hip implants comes from the Nordic Arthroplasty Register Association and The National Joint Registry of England and Wales which showed that patient outcomes following hip resurfacing arthroplasty (HRA) are markedly worse than those associated with conventional total hip arthroplasty (THA). The researchers looked at short-term survival in 4,401 HRA procedures and compared them data from 48,409 THAs performed during the same time period and found that HRA procedures, especially those involving the DePuy ASR device, when compared with other devices resulted in a worse outcome as well as increased chance of needing a revision surgery.
About one million of these all-metal devices have been implanted in patients across the world over the past 15 years. This means that far too many patients are at possible risk of the dangerous effects of cobalt exposure. 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.