Woman was never aware her hip implant could be poisoning her
Lisa had undergone hip replacement surgery on her right hip in 2007. As far as she could tell, the surgery was a success and she was experiencing no pain or disability. When her left hip started causing problems she went to her orthopedist and expected him to recommend she have the other hip replaced. He ordered X-rays of both hips and what he found took him by surprise.
“He said metal was sloughing off (of the hip implant) and it had shaved the tissue and the bone,” Lisa told the Grand Tribune. It was poisoning her blood, she says, and needed to be replaced immediately.
Lisa had received a metal-on-metal hip implant designed to be more durable than traditional ceramic ones. More than 20 medical device companies manufacture the metal-on-metal implants, including DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which makes the Pinnacle system.
Artificial hips are designed to last 20 years or more with a failure rate of about 12-13 percent over that time. But the “more durable” metal-on-metal implants were beginning to show higher failure rates in just five years. Many patients complained of pain, limited mobility, and clicking or popping when they walked as a result of the devices loosening, fracturing or dislocating.
But what was causing the devices to fail so quickly? Doctors soon discovered what was aggravating the problem was tiny bits of metal from the implant rubbing together could flake off into the joint space and get into the bloodstream. This may cause a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis, a condition that can cause headaches, fatigue and other problems.
The reported complaints associated with metal-on-metal hip implants has prompted a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into problems associated with metal-on-metal implants. The news is too late for Lisa, who underwent revision surgery to have her hip implant replaced. But she says she is sharing her story in hopes of warning others with metal-on-metal hip implants to have their devices checked even if they aren’t causing problems.
“I just don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I did,” she said.
Source: Grand Tribune