Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
There is a very unique aspect to metal-on-metal hip implants that has been found dangerous to hip implant patients. In light of recent hip implant recalls, surgeons have come forward to reveal high failure rates in many large diaphragm metal-on-metal implants, and the significant damage they cause by way of metal wear debris. Click here for a list of metal-on-metal implants that may cause elevated cobalt and chromium blood levels.
Metal wear debris has been found to cause soft tissue damage in and around the hip joint.
Many studies suggest this is caused by both direct killing of the tissue, and also by a stimulation of an inflammatory process. Often patients who have been implanted with large diaphragm metal-on-metal hip implants have discovered pseudo-tumors growing in the tissue surrounding the metal hip. These benign tumors are growths of pus and scar tissue resulting from this inflammatory process that has occurred in response to the foreign object implanted in the body. When the body reacts in this way to exposure to metals, it is often termed “metallosis.”
This inflammatory process can also affect the body’s immune response by infiltrating the T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, that drive up the body’s hypersensitivity response. This is where the health consequences to cobalt and chromium become a larger concern. Cobalt has been known to trigger cardiomyopathy (heart problems), hypothyroidism, and both cobalt and chromium may possibly contribute to neurotoxic outcomes, as well as carcinogenesis, or cancer.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, cancer has been shown in animals when cobalt was placed directly into the muscle or under the skin. Based on this research, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer includes cobalt found in hard metals as a potential carcinogen for humans.
Additional Reading: Four-year study of cobalt and chromium blood levels in patients managed with two different metal-on-metal total hip replacements, March 2003, Journal of Orthopaedic Research.
For more information about metallosis, read what is metallosis?
Video Part 12: Potential Long Term Effects of Cobalt & Chromium In the above video, toxicology expert Dr. Michael McCabe discusses metallosis and how the body’s immune response to cobalt and chromium metal debris wear may adversely affect the patient with long term health problems.
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