Many patients who suffer from hip pain opt for surgery to replace their joint with an implant. Metal on metal (MoM) implants are a popular choice among patients because both the ball and socket portions of the implant are made of a firm metal that is considered more durable than other materials. This design has been criticized by experts as defective and damaging since health complications linked to the presence of metal in the body were reported by patients after their hip replacement surgeries with MoM implants.
One of those complications is metallosis, which indicates raised levels of metal ions in the bloodstream.
Metallosis is caused by the soft tissues around the metal prosthetic hip being exposed to metal particles released by friction between the ball and socket that occurs with normal daily movement of the implant. Metallosis can cause pain and inflammation around the hip, and sometimes is so unbearable that it requires a revision surgery to replace the prosthetic with a safer product. Examples of these MoM and similar artificial hips include the Depuy ASR hip, Stryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG II, Stryker LFIT V40, and the Depuy Pinnacle Hip implants. Thousands have filed lawsuits against manufacturers for suffering the side effects and revision surgeries as a result of getting MoM implants.
If you are contemplating a hip replacement surgery, ask your doctor what type of hip they plan to use, whether it is a metal-on-metal hip, and what are the long-term risks associated with that type of implant. If you already have an MoM prosthetic hip, and you are experiencing pain in that hip, you may want to consider being tested for metallosis. If you find that you do have metallosis and that a revision surgery is indicated, listen to the advice of your orthopedic surgeon.
You can search the FDA’s database for more information on medical devices that have been recalled since November 2002 here.