Take an informal survey of friends and family who have had hip implants. Ask what brand of hip implant do they have? Most likely blank stares will be the answer. Some may know metal on metal, metal on polyethylene, or metal on ceramic hip replacements, but most will be unaware of the brand or model.
You can jog their memories with Stryker, DePuy, Zimmer, Pinnacle, Biomet, and Wright among others though no recollection comes to mind. Yet, if you ask what brand of contact lenses or dental adhesive they use – brands easily roll off the tongue. Why so? Perhaps, brand recognition occurs because the contact lenses or dental adhesive packaging is personally handled and rests in the medicine cabinet.
Would a patient who has had a hip implant actually know the brand? Would you know the difference between primary acetabular components and primary femoral components? The answer is most likely no, unless you have reviewed your complex medical records.
So, as hip replacement patients, when you hear on TV or read on online about all the hip implant complications, what can you do?
While your doctor and/or the hospital where the hip implant surgery was done is supposed to notify you of any hip implant recalls and alerts, this process could fall through the cracks if you moved; changed your contact info; changed healthcare plans; or there was a computer error or clerical error.
Another problem hip implant recipients cope with is — since your hip implant surgery, your quality of life has just not been the same. While you went through the pain and suffering of the hip implant, things have not changed much except gotten worse. Numerous doctor visits and medical tests don’t pinpoint to any specific problem and so you deteriorate under this vast blanket of malaise and ever growing pain.
You are not alone.
Doctors have been slow to connect the dots between metal on metal hip implants and metal ion poisoning, a degenerative side effect of hip implant surgery. The metal implants are made from cobalt and chromium which give off small particles into the bloodstream and tissues. Over time these particles build up.
What are the symptoms of metal ion poisoning?
Metal ion poisoning affects the heart (chest pain/shortness of breath); nervous system (numbness/weakness/change in vision & hearing); thyroid gland (fatigue/feeling cold/weight gain); and change in urination habits; as well as pain in the groin, hip, or leg; swelling at or near the hip joint; and a acquiring a limp.
If your doctor tells you to wait and see or “it takes time to heal” find a new doctor. If you are suffering from these qualify of life hip implant side effects, please seek legal counsel as you are not alone. Don’t suffer silently. Fight back!