Metallosis from Metal on Metal Hip Replacements

What is Metallosis and How is it Related to Metal Hip Replacements?

Metallosis is a type of metal poisoning. It involves a build-up of metal debris in the body’s soft tissue. This happens when parts of a metal on metal hip replacement rub together, releasing tiny cobalt and chromium particles into your bloodstream and the tissue surrounding your hip.

These particles rot healthy red tissue and muscle around the implant and turn it into a dry, gray, and dead mass of gunk. This means pain and loss of mobility. Sometimes, acronyms like “ALVAL” (Aseptic Lymphocyte-dominated Vasculitis-associated Lesion) or “ARMD” (Adverse Reaction to Metal Debris) are also used to describe similar metal poisoning from MoM hip implants.

Unfortunately, a growing list of medical literature also discusses how these metal particles are small enough that they get carried through your bloodstream.  This potentially causes serious health complications in other body parts and systems, other than just the hip.

You May be at Risk for Metallosis

Many doctors recommend that patients with metal on metal hips have their blood tested every three months for high cobalt and chromium levels. Cobalt and chromium particles are also referred to as “metal ions.”

Generally, higher blood metal ion levels indicate greater implant wear.  Medical studies show that the longer you have your implant in place, the higher your risk of experiencing metallosis.

Damaged tissue from a defective metal on metal hip replacement

What is Considered a High Metal Blood Ion Level?

A diagnosis of metallosis requires testing a patient’s blood for cobalt and chromium levels. The Mayo Clinic’s Medical Laboratories have stated that chromium levels greater 1 part per billion “suggest significant prosthesis wear.” They also report that “toxic concentrations” of cobalt are “greater than or equal to” 5 parts per billion.


Hip Revision Surgery – Preserving Evidence for your Case

If you have higher than normal metal levels in your blood, or other complications, your surgeon will probably recommend hip revision surgery. This is a second hip operation to remove and replace parts of your metal on metal hip with a different type of implant. 

It’s very important to contact our attorneys before your revision surgery so we can preserve evidence for your case.  This includes getting images of the tissue damage during surgery and the safe storage of the hip parts removed from your body.

If you already had revision surgery, don’t worry.  We can help you track down medical records to use as evidence and find out if your doctor saved the implant components.

Contact us immediately for a case evaluation because there is a time limit to file a claim. Call 888-952-5242, or fill out the form below, or chat with us.

Talk to us about problems with your metal on metal hip replacement

Metallosis: Symptoms of Metal Poisoning

Metallosis causes a number of serious health complications, which are detailed in the section above. However, some people with metallosis also report experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Early morning nausea
  • Physical signs of implant failure (popping, squeaking or pain in the hip)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ringing in your ears or hearing loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
Cobalt chromium poisoning from a defective metal on metal hip replacement

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor immediately about your metal on metal hip.  Ask for a blood test to check your metal ion levels for metallosis.  With that being said, it is important to remember that many patients with metallosis exhibit no symptoms, so you should still have your metal ion levels tested regularly to make sure that your implant is not failing.

Is Metallosis Treatable?

Having a hip revision surgery should decrease the metal particles being released into your blood and allow your metal ion counts to lower back to normal levels. Revision surgery is a second operation where the surgeon removes the defective metal on metal hip and replaces it with a different type of hip implant.

What are the Health Problems Caused by Metallosis?

Often, metallosis is only detected AFTER a patient has already started experiencing severe health problems, such as vision loss or heart disease. In these cases, patients go to their doctors to resolve a problem that is seemingly unrelated to their hip implant only to discover that metallosis from their hip implant is the underlying cause.

Brands of Hip Cases Our Attorneys are Currently Reviewing

If you have one of the hips implants listed, contact us immediately because there are time limits to file a claim. We are NOT reviewing any metal on polyethylene or ceramic type hip implant cases other than the Stryker LFit V40.

Metal on Metal Hip Complications