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Metal-on-metal hip implant can come with unique complications

Whether due to an injury or the luck of the draw, you ended up needing to get your hip replaced. Hip implants today are a modern miracle of science, allowing you the type of mobility and range of movement you never thought would be possible again when you were suffering from extreme hip pain. However, if you received a metal-on-metal implant, you might face unforeseen complications. The following information is important for you and other Pennsylvanians with metal hip implants to know.

There are two types of metal-on-metal hip replacements, one of which you might have. The first is a total hip replacement, which replaces the bone of the hip and the top "ball" part of the femur with a metal device. The second implant is a resurfacing of the ball and socket parts of the hip joints, replacing the damaged bone with metal. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, medical professionals considered metal-on-metal replacements to be more durable and less likely to fracture or dislocate when they were at their most common over a decade ago.

Newer implants today usually consist of a metal ball and hard plastic cup. The replacement may also use ceramic material. This is because metal-on-metal implants have an association with numerous complications, many of which are the result of metal ions from the implant releasing into the bloodstream. The following symptoms also have a link to metal-on-metal implants:

  • Damage to the tissue or bone surrounding the implant, known as adverse local tissue reaction or adverse reaction to metal debris
  • Disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
  • Depression or mental impairment
  • Changes in hearing or vision
  • Impairments involving the kidneys or thyroid
  • Hypersensitivity of the skin, usually presenting in a generalized rash

What can you do if you feel concerned about metal toxicity from cobalt or chromium particles in your bloodstream? The FDA recommends following up with your surgeon every one to two years if you have a metal hip replacement. Contact your doctor immediately if you begin to suffer any of the above complications. Depending on your case, you may be eligible for compensation for a metal-on-metal hip implant that has caused an injury or illness.

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