While the studies and patient concerns establishing the invasive impacts of cobalt toxicity resulting from metal-on-metal hip implants are accessible online, however, metal-on-metal hip implants are still widely used in total hip replacement surgeries today. After revision surgeries, the patients’ symptoms improved. One-year following her bilateral revision surgery, she feels much better. This type of implant is an artificial hip socket that is created by fitting a metal ball into a metal cup. He found his cobalt levels were over a hundred times the normal amount. Two aspirations of the hip were culture negative. Signs that you may be the victim of a failed metal-on-metal hip implant and cobalt poisoning include: Victims of cobalt poisoning from metal-on-metal hip implants may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Cobalt poisoning results when the metal components of an implant begin to wear and microscopic metal shards are absorbed into the blood stream and infiltrate the organs. Her byline can be found in Playboy, Rewire News, i-D, Broadly and various other corners of the internet. According to the study’s authors, normal serum cobalt level is 0.19 µg/L, and 95 percent of those who are unexposed to cobalt have a value of <0.41 µg/L. Probably has a DePuy ASR hip implant. The patient’s cobalt levels in his blood were 1,078 μg/L; acceptable levels are less than .3 μg/L. Cobalt poisoning can also occur from the wear and tear of some cobalt/chromium metal-on-metal hip implants. S. Nicole Lane is a freelance journalist based in the southside of Chicago where she covers women's health, the LGBTQ voice, arts, and entertainment. A necessary advancement in hip surgery is being performed in an Ohio hospital, with hopes it will ease the burden of hip implant risks by offering a hip replacement alternative. Someone whose blood contains more than 25 micrograms has cobalt poisoning. On her way to work one morning, Frances found herself lost in an area she had regularly driven for ten years. Exposure to cobalt metal dust is most common in the fabrication of tungsten carbide. One of the lead stories is of Dr. Stephen Tower – an orthopedic surgeon – who suffered severe metallic poisoning from a hip replacement that used a metal-on-metal device. A good, close friend had hip replacement a few years back. It happens when there’s friction between metal surfaces. The tissue damage that results from cobalt poisoning can complicate future revision surgeries intended to replace the damaged metal-on-metal hip implant. Recently, the FDA published a statement discussing the issues concerning metal on metal hip replacements. Cobalt poisoning, also known as “cobaltism” or “ metallosis,” is a dangerous side effect of metal hip replacements, and it occurs when excessive levels of cobalt are found in a person’s bloodstream. You could be the victim of cobaltism, or cobalt poisoning, from your metal-on-metal hip implant. The friction releases tiny metal particles into your bloodstream that could trigger a hypersensitive immune response in your body. With no real understanding of the possible risks, patients are left confused and in serious danger. Within weeks, her skin broke out in boils that would crack open and bleed. Thirty months after surgery, one patient’s blood cobalt level was 122 µg/L, while the second patient’s measured 23 µg/L one year after receiving a metal-on-metal implant. The limited studies conducted so far on metal-on-metal hip implants estimate that 1 to 3 percent of implant recipients could be affected by the problem. When Frances first struggled with ACE, she didn’t have Tower’s insights. He labeled one of them “rapid behavior” after the cobalt poisoning led him to draw all over the walls of his hotel room. Dr. Stephen Tower is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex hip replacements. Activists like Frances and Dr. Tower are only the beginning for increasing transparency on medical devices and the invasive risks of metal poisoning. Another source is from wear and tear of certain metal-on-metal hip prostheses. Chromium poisoning alone has also been associated with skin inflammation, renal failure, cardiovascular issues, and more. Within one year of the hip implant surgery, both patients experienced symptoms of persistent hip pain and shortness of breath as the microscopic metallic particles from the hip implant were released into the bloodstream and tissues. Frances spent seven years of regular MRIs, cobalt and chromium tests, echocardiograms, and ultrasounds, and she there was no possible way she could afford the FDG PET on her own. This type of implant is an artificial hip socket that is created by fitting a metal ball into a metal cup. Besides the symptoms associated with other forms of metallosis, cobalt toxicity can cause patients to suffer from fever, inflammation, and low thyroid levels. Attorney Advertising, Cobalt Poisoning and Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, Legal Help for Victims of Cobalt Poisoning and Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, cobalt poisoning as a result of a metal-on-metal hip implant. Sometimes, metal particles (cobalt) are released as … In another study dating back to 2016, researchers suggested that some implants released metal particles and could be responsible for toxicity. I have less fear now about my future, now that I know the poisoning devices have been removed. Monday, June 6, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. After discovering that he had cobalt poisoning due to corrosion of his hip implant Dr Steve Tower began to investigate … Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter. Let’s look at how these hip implants can fail. The metal-on-metal hip replacement is designed with a metal ball and socket. The Data on Cobalt Poisoning and Neuropsychiatric Complications A 2017 study in BMC Psychiatry looked at ten cases of metal-on-metal hip replacements. This type of implant is an artificial hip socket that is created by fitting a metal ball into a metal cup. Following extensive research into his own case and others like it, Dr. Stephen Tower’s coined the term Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy, or ACE, when addressing the array of neurological symptoms that resulted from his cobalt-hip-induced metal poisoning. In addition to the neurological concerns that cobalt poisoning poses, when combined with chromium, the cobalt ions can contribute to loss of appetite, weight loss, and low energy. The friction of the parts rubbing together (as they are intended to do) can release microscopic particles of cobalt into the body. Context: Post-arthroplasty metallosis, which refers to metallic corrosion and deposition of metallic debris in the periprosthetic soft tissues of the body, is an uncommon complication. In 2012, Canada addressed the issue, and Australia similar released a disclaimer. Today, she takes NAC, which Dr. Tower advised her to take. The doctor chose to use a new type of devise for the replacement. She explains that they all seemed to find an excuse that varied from one diagnosis to the next. The New York Times describes what the doctor saw, reporting, “[it] looked like a crankcase full of dirty oil.”, “Tissue surrounding the hip was black. And a patient whose blood contains more than 100 micrograms? These metal particles predominantly consist of cobalt and chromium ions. So, it came as a surprise to him when he began experiencing symptoms of illness due to his hip replacement surgery. Above this level, patients may begin to develop many of the same symptoms displayed here: neurotoxicity including Cobalt poisoning can also occur from the wear and tear of some cobalt/chromium metal-on-metal hip implants. Eventually, other professionals encouraged her to get an FDG PET scan to detect changes in the brain, however her insurance wouldn’t cover it. Cobalt Poisoning From A Stryker Hip Device The chemical element cobalt is found in plants, water, rocks, and soil, making it naturally absorb in the body through the food and beverages we drink. What were those symptoms? All Rights Reserved. This was the result of a hip replacement she had undergone several years prior. This is a known risk with metal-on-metal implants, but newer data are showing that it is also a risk with metal-on-polyethylene implants. Testing of his blood and urine revealed 100 times the expected amount of cobalt in his body… and as it was revealed in the documentary The Bleeding Edge, the toxic metal was coming right from the DuPuy hip. He had a terrible time. Discussion: This is a case of fatal cobalt-induced cardiomyopathy in a patient whose ceramic components of a total hip arthroplasty fractured causing metallosis with worsening cobalt toxicity. “I developed memory loss, severe tinnitus, visual disturbances, confusion and PTSD-like rage/anxiety attacks,” she shares, as well as a migraine that landed her in the ER. The Data on Cobalt Poisoning and Neuropsychiatric Complications. Cobalt is found in batteries, chemistry sets, drill bits, saw blades, dyes, magnets, and tires. Frances, 47, was 39 when the cobalt alloy hips were implanted. Nevertheless, ACE still affects Frances. Cobalt is known to produce a variety of symptoms in patients who accumulate a toxic amount in their blood. I pray my body can somehow repair the damage done by the cobalt.”. Cobalt Toxicity: The Poison in Her Hip Replacement, Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy, or ACE. In most instances, their doctors have no answers. After initially noticing the symptoms, Frances reached out to a medical professional. In addition to NAC and a mostly raw, plant-based diet, Frances notes, “I take cracked cell wall chlorella and spirulina, high dose niacin and vitamin C, bentonite clay capsules and psyllium husk capsules in an effort to help my excretory system get rid of the heavy metals in my blood.”. She often thinks about others who are going through the same ails and trauma she endured for seven years. These devices are made from a blend of several different metals, including chromium, cobalt, nickel, titanium and molybdenum. A whole blood cobalt level obtained two days before she expired was 641.6 mcg/L. An incredible discovery in Australia could change the way we approach metal-on-metal hip replacement procedures to better protect patients from metal poisoning. When these criteria are applied to the currently published cases of arthroprosthetic cobaltism secondary to cobalt alloy-containing metal-on-metal hip prostheses, the circulating serum cobalt metal ion concentrations are typically very high, usually approaching 100 µg/L, before systemic cobalt toxicity is objectively identified. A person with 1 microgram of cobalt in their bloodstream has nothing to worry about. Cobalt-containing hip prosthesis may cause systemic toxicity due to the release of cobalt from metal-on-metal (MoM) joint arthroplasty into the bloodstream. Taking a scientific approach to the abnormal behaviors , Tower decided to look at the levels of cobalt in his blood and urine. Finally the doctor replaced the devise with one that had already proven reliable. As these MoM implants age in the user the risk factors increase for cobalt or chromium poisoning. Onl … It’s caused when the metal wears and introduces cobalt into the bloodstream. from this case is the need to identify symptoms of cobalt toxicity early in patients with prior hip arthroplasty. In the past 20 years, though, more and more women with implants are experiencing similar symptoms: skin rashes, joint aches, brain fog, insomnia, vertigo, light and sound sensitivity, and at times, excruciating pain. The effects of the cobalt alloy hips were life-altering for Frances. Sometimes, metal particles (cobalt) are released as the metal ball grinds against the metal cup when you walk. More than 400,000 women undergo breast augmentation surgery every year for either reconstructive or cosmetic purposes. Once the body has been exposed to this metal in large quantities, risks are serious as deafness, nerve problems, thickening of blood, and issues with the heart. His list of common side effects include tremors, memory problems, fatigue, weakness, mood alteration, sleep issues, pain, weight loss, and blindness. Hip replacement patients should be relatively pain-free three months after surgery. In the Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Bleeding Edge, which follows the lives of patients like Frances who have been personally affected by the dangers of the medical device industry, one doctor speaks to his own personal experience suffering as a result of his own medical device. Thousands of women have had vaginal mesh implanted, and when it fails, they suffer from unnerving, unfathomable pain. And while fans are excited Richard survived, they’re a little confused about his diagnosis. One leading theory claims the constant abrasion of the metal hip implant components causes minuscule cobalt-chromium (CoCr) particles to … 4. Transvaginal mesh, a medical device commonly made of a synthetic polypropylene plastic netting, was recommended by doctors to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). When a person walks, these metal parts grind together. In this article we discuss the health risks that are related to chronically elevated blood cobalt concentrations induced by abnormal wear and corrosion of the MoM prosthesis. When the metal parts rub against each other, they release microscopic metal particles into the blood and surroun… The cobalt found in what we ingest are in such minuscule trace amounts that they are … Have you suffered from pain, inflammation, difficulty walking, or developed non-cancerous tumors (cysts) since receiving your metal-on-metal hip implant? Andrew DeLuca was the one to make the incredible catch. At one year postoperatively, X-rays and MARS-MRI showed a fixed reversed hybrid THA, with periarticular densities, flattening of the femora… Out of 10 patients studied, nine experienced neuropsychiatric complications due to cobalt and chromium toxicity. Cobalt and chromium can be released as the metal … A month after the metal was removed, Dr. Tower’s life was back to normal again, but he’s made it part of his life’s work to save the rest of the world from chrome cobalt implants. Two years after the hip implantation, the patients in the study experienced even more symptoms of cobaltism, which can include irritability, fatigue, tinnitus, hearing loss, headaches, loss of coordination, cognitive decline, and depression. What followed was gruesome. A 2017 study in BMC Psychiatry looked at ten cases of metal-on-metal hip replacements. Systemic cobalt toxicity post-arthroplasty is extremely rare. Cobalt or chromium poisoning can occur from the wear and tear of cobalt/chromium metal-on-metal hip implants. To discuss your case with one of our cobalt poisoning lawyers, please fill out our online form, or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-80-529-4636) today. Both were “fit, well, forty-nine-year-old men at the time of metal-on-metal arthroplasty with ASR implants,” the article said. According to a New York Times report published in March 2010, metal-on-metal hip implants have been used in about one-third of the approximately 250,000 hip replacements performed annually in this country. Out of 10 patients studied, nine experienced neuropsychiatric complications due to cobalt and chromium toxicity. While most hip implants and hip implant systems share some of the same issues, there are also important differences to be aware of. Cobalt leaking from the ASR hip had caused a condition called metallosis, destroying not only local muscle, tendons and ligaments, but harming Dr. Tower’s heart and brain as well.”. This case illustrates the potential for systemic cobalt toxicity in non-metal-on-metal bearings and its potentially devastating consequences. Cobalt poisoning results when the metal components of an implant begin to wear and microscopic metal shards are absorbed into the blood stream and infiltrate the organs. Cobalt is an essential element for health in animals in minute amounts as a component of Vitamin B12. During surgery, the doctors found ceramic fragments in his joints, and there was significant wear on … She is also a visual artist who works with small-scale sculptures. Oh, blood poisoning from the shedding of metal particles like cobalt or titanium that build up in soft tissues in your body. The other danger for cobalt poisoning is that it could mimic other conditions. Richard had been suffering from cobalt … Unfortunately, her story is one lived by the many who cope with neurological issues as a result of cobalt toxicity. When they wear, metal particles from these hip implants can infiltrate organs and tissues, and may even create large, painful cysts. NAC is a medication used to treat acetaminophen overdose. The exact cause of allergic reactions and metal poisoning in metal-on-metal hip replacements is debated among medical professionals. Cobalt poisoning is intoxication caused by excessive levels of cobalt in the body. The authors called for a larger group study to define the prevalence and spectrum of cobalt poisoning due to hip replacement surgery. If you received one of these, or another metal-on-metal hip implant, and your health has deteriorated, our cobalt poisoning lawyers want to hear from you today. MedTruth is recognizing stories of pelvic pain to bring attention to medical device dangers, specifically the realities of living with transvaginal mesh failure. A multitude of harrowing symptoms soon followed. Has your metal-on-metal hip implant failed prematurely? Stories Not Statistics: Faces of Transvaginal Mesh. The article described two patients from Alaska who developed the condition after receiving DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. Her hip surgeon denied that this was caused by the metal in her blood; a dermatologist said her painful boils were simply adult acne. Some metal devices sold in the US include Wright Medical’s CONSERVE Total Hip System, Biomet’s M2a Metal Hip, Zimmer Orthopedics’ Metasul, and DePuy Orthopaedic’s now-recalled ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System. Any new pain or increase in pain at that point should be promptly communicated to your surgeon, as it may indicate a complication. Per the International Agency for Research on Canc All nine participants who experienced those complications fulfilled the criteria for depression, and three of those patients were being treated for it. Cobalt poisoning is a common problem in patients with artificial hips. If you are suffering health problems due to a defective hip implant, we urge you to contact a cobalt poisoning attorney at our firm today to to get a free cobaltism case evaluation to find out whether you could be eligible to file a cobalt poisoning lawsuit. “I don’t feel foggy, forgetful, confused or depressed like I did for most of the seven year period when I had the cobalt-chromium parts in my hips. In excruciating pain, Dr. Tower underwent surgery once again – this time to have the medical device replaced. Cobalt poisoning from hip prosthesis is rare but debilitating. At that point, even smiling caused her pain as contracting her muscles would cause the boils to ooze and burst. © 2002-2021 YourLawyer.com®. This went on for a couple of years. An October 2010 article published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery linked metal-on-metal hip implants to cobalt poisoning. Cobalt chromium poisoning is a risk for anyone with a metal on metal (MoM) hip replacement. Left untreated, it can result in tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, deafness, blindness, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, and cognitive problems, including dementia. A deficiency of cobalt, which is very rare, is also potentially lethal, leading to pernicious anemia. This behavior compounded by frequent tremors caused concern for his mental health among his friends and family. Cobalt poisoning can arise from metal implants due to wear and tear on the metal implant surfaces, but implant deterioration has not yet been reported to cause muscle spasticity. See metallosis symptoms, treatments and what you should do if you’ve had hip surgery and suspect you have metallosis. High cobalt blood levels can lead to a variety of clinical manifestations, mimicking other disorders, especially autoimmune, hematologic, and infectious diseases. Unfortunately, her story is one lived by the many who cope with neurological issues as a result of cobalt toxicity. The attorneys of Parker Waichman LLP are also the authors of “Personal Injury Law for Dummies,” an easy-to-understand guide to all aspects of personal injury law. Patients Poisoned by Copper Toxicity Describe Neurological Impacts of IUD, 5 Signs You Have Hernia Mesh Complications. You could be the victim of cobaltism, or cobalt poisoning, from your metal-on-metal hip implant. Lawyers at our firm who specialize in defective medical device litigation are offering free lawsuit evaluations to victims of cobalt poisoning from a metal-on-metal hip implant. While on the operating table, Dr. Tower’s surgeon found the metal from the hip implant seeping into his body. However, many of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons have reduced or stopped use of these devices because of concerns that they can cause severe tissue and bone damage. It’s imperative for health care providers to disclose the risk of cobalt poisoning and how it can cause cardiac and neurological side effects. Clinically significant effects of cobalt poisoning rarely appear below a whole blood level of 300 mcg/L. Our cobalt poisoning lawyers are investigating the link between metal-on-metal hip implants. He received another revision surgery for his hip implant because he evidently had cobalt poisoning. Hip replacement surgery costs may vary widely. The devise dislocated at will several times and he developed cobalt poisoning. Parker Waichman LLP is listed in Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. I’m no longer scared of not being able to control my emotions and behavior like I did when my cobalt levels were at their highest. Cobalt poisoning is extremely serious. Since 2011, cobalt and chromium blood levels are measured in patients with a metal-on-metal hip implant (MoM prosthesis). The neurological symptoms that occur with cobalt metal poisoning include: After diagnosing a fractured ceramic liner, the hip prosthesis was revised into a metal-on-polyethylene bearing. Parker Waichman LLP is one of the preeminent personal injury law firms in the US. Another consulting orthopedic surgeon had written a paper about cobalt toxicity and was certain of the diagnosis: adverse reaction from metal debris. The eff e cts of the cobalt alloy hips were life-altering for Frances. Cobalt Poisoning: DePuy ASR Hip Implants Are a Serious Risk. Find out what your legal options might be … Cobalt Poisoning From a Hip or Knee Replacement Could Drive One to Suicide Replacement knee and hip joints wear out and produce debris that can enter the bloodstream and make a person very sick Please note that you are not considered a client until you have signed a retainer agreement and your case has been accepted by us. Metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants have unique risks in addition to the general risks of all hip implants.. As hip replacements fail and metal flakes enter the body, patients can suffer from cobalt toxicity (elevated cobalt levels). Abstract. A metal-on-metal hip implant is made of chromium and cobalt, and consists of a cup that’s implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. Metallosis is a type of metal poisoning that can occur as a side effect of joint replacement devices with metal components, such as metal-on-metal hip implants or some knee implants. We present a 71-year-old male with grinding sensations in his right hip following ceramic-on-ceramic total hip arthroplasty (THA). A 2017 study in BMC Psychiatry looked at ten cases of metal-on-metal hip replacements. If you or a loved one suffered cobalt poisoning as a result of a metal-on-metal hip implant, you may have valuable legal rights. In The Bleeding Edge , Dr. Tower wonders if some elderly patients – the ones most likely to need a hip transplant – might have been wrongfully diagnosed with a form of dementia, when in fact they were showing signs of a reversible condition, instead. Metal-on-Metal can lead to tissue damage, Metallosis The patient’s left hip revision was performed on Oct. 17, 2012. In recent keyword analysis of Google searches we’ve found that many people are concerned with cobalt or chromium poisoning from these hip implants. ACE is meant to identify a brain disease or associated neurological symptoms caused by elevated levels of cobalt from a metal artificial hip. The UK’s Medical Products and Healthcare Devices Regulatory Agency published a 2010 device warning – advising patients to check in annually on their device for the fiver years following surgery.