Hip Implant Toxicity Claims Alarm Recipients of Metal on Metal Surgical Devices

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012 by Editor

An expert in hip implant toxicity claims that recipients of metal on metal surgical devices may be suffering injuries even though their devices have not failed.

Stephen Cannon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, has warned that the bone structure around the hip area can be damaged by “system toxicity”, when metallic particles displaced by metal on metal hip implants enter the bloodstream.

Mr Cannon claims that the potential exists for particles of chromium and cobalt to cause damage to the hip implant recipient´s organs and neurological system. He added that tissue necrosis – usually the first sign of system toxicity – can make revision surgery more complicated for surgeons and more painful for patients.

Mr Cannon´s warning implies that recipients of metal on metal hip replacement systems – such as the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants – could still be suffering injuries even though on the surface the hip replacement seems to be operating as it should.

The advice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is for recipients of metal on metal hip implants to have annual x-rays and blood tests to ensure the integrity of their hip replacement system and to check against system toxicity.

In the event of an abnormal blood test result, it should be possible to make hip implant toxicity claims to recover the costs of revision surgery and any loss of income. However, Professor Joe Dias – president of the British Orthopaedic Association – noted that only 41% of patients who received the DePuy metal on metal hip implant have undergone the recommended checks.

Metal on metal hip replacement systems have been available in the UK since the 1990s; when they were identified as more durable implants than those using a metal ball and plastic socket. It is estimated that there are more than 40,000 recipients of metal on metal hip replacement systems in the UK – approximately 10,000 of which are known to have received the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants

In August 2010, DePuy ASR hip implants were recalled due to a “higher than anticipated” failure rate. At the time, the possibility of system toxicity was hardly considered, but – according to Stephen Cannon – it is essential that every recipient of a metal on metal medical device undergoes a blood test and then speaks with a solicitor if they believe they are entitled to make hip implant toxicity claims for compensation.


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