DePuy Hip Implant Chromium & Cobalt Metal Toxicity

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The metal on metal design of DePuy’s ASR hip replacement system can cause metal toxicity due to chromium and cobalt ions floating around in the blood. Some patients are at a higher risk than others and doctors say that it’s important for anyone with a DePuy hip replacement to check chromium and cobalt ion levels in the blood.

Hip Implant Problems: Women At Higher Risk

Elevations of chromium and cobalt ions are directly and statistically significantly associated with wear of metal on metal implants and the ASR in particular. The more wear, the higher the ion levels. Wear is increased in patients with smaller heads and smaller side implants. Wear is increased in patients who have the cup placed at a steeper angle. So, think about who gets the smaller implants? Women do as they’re generally smaller. Pregnant women also have to be concerned with these metals crossing over the placental barrier and possibly damaging the fetus. Unfortunately, there’s no bright line symptoms when it comes to heavy metal toxicity issues.

Metal Hip Problems: Even If You’re Asymptomatic Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Worry

You can have elevated chromium cobalt levels with no symptoms, no groin pain, no hip pain and no adverse reactions. So, just because you are asymptomatic with a metal on metal implant, particularly with the ASR, doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to think about in knowing what the chromium cobalt ion level is in your hip replacement today, what it is a year from now and what it then becomes five years from now. One way to think about that is if it elevates, that’s an indicator that your joint may be wearing and that you may need to have a revision. While experts can’t make that statement definitively, it is something that’s discussed. Therefore, it’s important to monitor it because of the potential of adverse reactions systemically to the chromium and cobalt ions. It’s these adverse reactions which have caused many injured victims to file DePuy hip implant injury lawsuits alleging negligent design.

DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuits Allege Negligent Design

DePuy hip implant recall attorneys say that DePuy was negligent in designing the ASR XL Acetabular Cup System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems. This has led to numerous injuries and lawsuits. Here’s a look at the negligent design allegations for each system:

  • DePuy ASR Acetabular Cup System. The DePuy ASR Acetabular Cup System was negligently designed creating a coverage angle that is too shallow. The coverage angle means how the ball fits inside the socket. If a ball fits deeply in the socket, it is very stable and it has good coverage. The problem is that it doesn’t have as high a range of motion. If there is a decreased coverage angle and there is a big femoral head fitting in a big socket, you have a lot of motion. Shallow cups provide insufficient coverage and you have a greater potential for wear – an increased instances of failure.The DePuy ASR Acetabular Cup System was negligently designed, creating insufficient coverage of the femoral component. This is essentially the same point, but from a different angle – meaning that the ball itself was defectively designed. This negligently designed and manufactured system also caused increased metal wear and increased instances of failure.

    DePuy ASR Acetabular Cup System was designed as a mono block construct and cannot be taken apart. There is an unacceptable differential of the cup and femoral head caused by the technique and manner of the heat treatment of the femoral head and cup. There are no screw holes to look for and its design lends itself to surgical error. So, the cup has to be put in just right – which is hard to do because of the way it’s designed.

    It’s hard to put it that way even when you read DePuy’s surgical protocols, surgical skills training and product literature as a surgeon. Even though you are a properly trained, board certified orthopedic surgeon, perhaps fellowship trained in joint replacement, it’s very difficult to put it in that position – and it has to be put in that position to function well.

  • DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement System. The DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement System was negligently designed so that it creates corrosion at the junction at the metal ball and the metal taper of the femoral neck. Corrosion is different from wear. Wear occurs at the junction of the ball and the socket. This is a separate design problem with the larger heads and the ASR. There are numerous reports of corrosion at the neck of the device. This leads to metal debris, and in many patients, a much more aggressive clinical metal inflammatory failure.

Hiring A DePuy Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been injured by a DePuy ASR medical device, seek the compensation for which you may be entitled by asking for help from an experienced DePuy injury lawyer who understands both the legal and medical aspects of these injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, metal toxicity monitoring and more.

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