Medical regulators have recently begun to investigate the DePuy ASR hip replacement system and its unique metal-on-metal (MoM) design due to several reports.Their concern is that, as the hip replacement wear down, metal particles may be released from the artificial hip and interact with the soft tissue such as muscle and ligaments surrounding the joint and enter the bloodstream. This would result in a rare blood disease called Metallosis.
Some of the symptoms of Metallosis have been known to include: inflammation, infection, immobility, joint stiffness, lack of range of motion, tinnitus, vertigo, blindness, deafness, peripheral neuropathy, headaches, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, osteolysis, pseudotumors, skin rash, necrosis, and even loosening of a metal orthopedic implant. In many cases specialized blood tests are needed to detect the metal levels with patients experiencing these symptoms. There have been reports of some DePuy implant patients having over 100 times the normal levels of chromium and cobalt in their bodies. High amount of cobalt in the body, commonly known as cobaltism, can actually cause harm to the body’s organs.
Usually Metallosis is a rare blood condition restricted those who have replacements for their joints, hip replacement patients have been found to the most prone. Several reports have shown that the DePuy ASR is more prone to cause debris problems.The biggest problem about Metallosis is that the only treatment in most cases is revision surgery. This would mean that the patient would need to have the replacement changed or removed altogether. Thus of course causing more pain and more rehab time.
These reports of Metallosis have caused many who have received a DePuy ASR to file lawsuits against DePuy.Records show that the first of these lawsuits in the United States alone was filed in March 2009, a mere 18 months after the DePuy ASR was recalled. Since March 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received over 500 complaints about the DePuy ASR and its metal-on-metal design wearing down.