Ball-and-socket hip replacements made of metal have been associated with significant side effects due to breakdown. In some cases, the breakdown is sudden and severe, such as when the implant fractures due to trauma. In other cases the breakdown is more gradual, with the ball and socket wearing away at each other, often resulting in small slivers of metal being introduced into the joint and bloodstream of the affected patient.
Over time, these small metal slivers can build up in various parts of the body, causing a condition known as Metallosis. Because the build-up of metal can occur in many parts of the body, the symptoms can be isolated or system. Examples can include:
- Loss of vision
- Ocular Cobalt Toxicity
Though the introduction of metallic particles may occur in the hip, once the bloodstream is compromised, build-up can occur anywhere in the body. Cobalt has been demonstrated to build up in the eye, and cobalt and chromium are two of the most commonly utilized metals in hip prostheses.
Visual impairment from Metallosis is fairly common, though the exact method by which vision is diminished is still unknown. Because significant cobalt exposure is rare outside of implant-related Metallosis, research has not yet determined the long-term effects of this exposure, though more and more patients are indicating diminished vision after failure of a metal-on-metal hip implant. Scans indicate that cobalt is visible in the eye, and are calling the syndrome Ocular Cobalt Toxicity.
If you or someone you love has suffered ill health following a metal-on-metal hip implant, and you believe failure of the device may be implicated, please consult with a qualified lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you get the answers you need regarding the long-term effects of Metallosis on your health.