Metallosis and DePuy Hip Implants

Metallosis, also referred to as metal poisoning, is a condition in which microscopic metallic particles accumulate in the soft muscle tissue. Some defective hip implants made by DePuy Orthopedics, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson) are said to be a cause of metallosis.

These prosthetic devices cause metallosis when the metallic ball-and-socket device that is intended to restore the hip joint is subject to metal-on-metal friction. This friction then emits metallic molecules into the implant recipient’s body. While these toxic particles first invade the hip muscles surrounding the device, with time they may spread, effecting the muscle tissues throughout the body. Symptoms of DePuy hip implant metallosis include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • impaired cognition
  • lack of coordination
  • loss of hearing and vision
  • nerve and tissue damage
  • tumors
  • intense pain

Background on DePuy Hip Implants

Intended to improve mobility and quality of life, DePuy hip implants have been available in the U.S. since 2005. Although early models of hip implant devices were made of plastic or ceramic components, DePuy's device was comprised of metal parts that were touted to be highly resilient to daily wear and tear as well as to more strenuous activities. Experts estimate that as many as 94,000 people have had a DePuy hip device inplanted – and that up to 13 percent of these patients have had to undergo revision surgeries due to hip implant failures.

An increased number of reports of DePuy’s implants leading to complications propelled DePuy to issue a voluntarily recall for the devices in August of 2010. While not all patients who have received a hip implant will need to have their device surgically extracted, its recommended that their physicians closely monitor their health for any signs that they may be developing metallosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Metallosis

To definitively diagnose or rule out metallosis in DePuy hip implant patients, doctors generally perform a blood test to evaluate the levels of chromium and cobalt in a patient's blood. Should a case of metallosis be confirmed, patients may require surgery to remove the affected tissues, as well as the defective hip implant.

While a diagnosis of metallosis can be devastating, affected patients should remember that the skilled DePuy hip implant lawyers at Chaffin Luhana are here to zealously defend their rights to help them seek compensation for their medical bills, permanent disabilities, lost wages, pain, and suffering. If you or a loved one believe you have been injured by a defective DePuy hip implnat, you should contact Chaffin Luhana’s DePuy hip lawyers immediately for a free and confidential case review. 

Trademark Notice: The use of the terms DePuy Hip, DePuy ASR™ Hip Replacement System, DePuy ASR™ XL Acetabular Hip System, and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System are strictly for identification purposes in attorney advertising. They are registered trademarks of DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Chaffin Luhana, LLP is in no way affiliated with DePuy Orthopedics or Johnson & Johnson.