Metal Poisoning

DePuy design puts patients at risk for metallosis

Traditionally, artificial hips consist of a metal ball inserted into a plastic-lined socket. However, DePuy’s ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular System use metal-on-metal parts to reduce wear and the chances that the hips will need to be replaced again in the future.

However, one major problem with DePuy’s metal-on-metal systems is that the friction between the parts releases particles of toxic heavy metals into the tissue and bloodstream, a condition often referred to as metallosis in medical journals.

Metallosis, or metal poisoning, is an inflammatory reaction to elevated levels of heavy metals in the body that affects different people in different ways. Symptoms often include anxiety, cognitive decline, constant pain, depression, dizziness, fatigue, hearing loss, incoordination, irritability, memory loss, nerve atrophy, organ damage, rashes, swelling, tinnitus, tissue damage, tremors, tumors, and vision impairment.

While many metallosis symptoms typically subside after removal of the metal implants, more serious side effects such as heart failure and dementia can occur and affect the patient on a long-term or permanent basis.