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M. Brandon Smith
M. Brandon Smith
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DePuy ASR Hip Implants Associated With Cobaltism

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Individuals who have had hip replacement surgery with a metal-on-metal athroplasty, and particularly the now recalled DePuy Orthopaedics ASR Hip Implant, should be aware of the risk of cobaltism that can develop over time. The link between metal-on-metal arthroplasties and cobaltism was highlighted in a recent case study carried out by Stephen Tower.

The case study, which focused on the experiences of two patients with complete hip replacements, suggests that the use of a metal-on-metal prosthetic can lead to cobalt poisoning, in part as a result of wear on the bearings of the prosthetic device. In addition to the two cases studied, there are 4 additional documented cases where cobaltism occurred in patients with metal-on-metal prosthetics. Cobalt, which is used in metal-on-metal prosthetic devices, interferes with cellular metabolism and cause organi damage. Cobaltism generally can result in tinnitus, vertigo, deafness, blindness, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism. Cobaltism that is linked to athroplasty implants is diagnosed as arthroprosthetic cobaltism.

In the case study, Tower notes that patients with metal-on-metal implants experience high serum cobalt levels which place them at risk for cognitive and cardiac impairment. Those particularly at risk include patients who have shell malposition or persistent hip pain, renal impairment, and ASR implants. The study recommends close monitoring of the serum cobalt levels. Specifically, according to the case study, “A serum cobalt level of > 7 mg/L indicates possible periprosthetic metallosis. A normal serum cobalt level is .19 mg/L and 95% of those who are unexposed to cobalt have a value of <.41 mg/L. A serum cobalt level of > 1 mg/L indicates excessive cobalt exposure, and levels of >5 mg/L are considered toxic.”

In addition to monitoring the serum cobalt levels, patients should also have neurological and cardiac assessments, and may need to consider revision arthroplasty, which if conducted early enough, has the potential to reverse some damage.

Before signing any documents with DePuy or its agent Broadspire, you need to contact the DePuy ASR Recall Attorneys at Childers, Schlueter, & Smith, LLC for a free consultaton and review. Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC continues to investigate and review the claims of patients nationwide who received a DePuy hip implant device since July of 2003. If you or a loved one has received the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System or DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and have experienced some type of hip pain, cobaltism, developed metallosis, required an additional hip surgery, or any of failure with your hip replacement device, you may want to contact CSS Firm for a free case evaluation and consultation. Our experienced team of ASR hip implant lawyers will work closely with you and see to it that you get the medical treatment you need and receive adequate compensation for your injuries.