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Smith & Nephew Hip Implant Patient Diagnosed with Metallosis

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Ramona, CAIncreasingly, more people are experiencing hip and knee replacement failure and undergoing revision surgery. Karen was given a metal-on-metal hip replacement and has recently been diagnosed with metallosis. “I had to get hip revision surgery and my kidneys are finally filtering out the heavy metals,” she says, exasperated.

Metallosis isn’t Karen’s only concern. She is also worried that the statute of limitations is running out - her first hip replacement was done in 2008; she had problems right from the get-go and they got worse.

“First of all it’s a pretty scary operation,” Karen says. “If you have ever bought a chicken and disjointed the leg from the breast you will know exactly how the surgeons bend you in half and pop the hip joint out of its socket.” Just eight weeks after she had that surgery Karen had her other hip done - she was only 60 years old.

“I got up the next day (after the second surgery) and discovered that my right leg was one inch longer than my left leg,” Karen explains. “They suggested that I wear orthotics - what a joke! Ten days later they pulled the staples, went back in and made my leg an inch shorter. Now I am about level. The right hip doesn’t have metal-on-metal everything; it has a plastic spacer. Why didn’t my first (left hip) replacement have the plastic spacer? Now my left hip is causing all the problems but the wear is uneven and my new surgeon is closely monitoring this issue.

“It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that I researched metal-on-metal hips. About that time the DePuy recall hit the fan. I was never told that I had a metal-on-metal hip. I phoned my surgeon’s office and asked one of his staff if I had a DePuy hip. She said, ‘Don’t worry, you have a Smith & Nephew hip.’ My relief was temporary…”

(In June 2012 Reuters reported that Smith & Nephew recalled its metal hip replacement component due to a high incidence of complications associated with the device. At issue was the metal liner, which was marketed in 2007 - one year before Karen had her hip replacement. An estimated 7,700 individuals have been affected by the Smith & Nephew hip recall. According to the company, the majority of the recalled metal liners were used in stemmed total hip replacements.)

“Finally the pain got so bad that I found a new doctor,” Karen adds. “He took a lot of x-rays and ordered lab tests - I was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning. The x-rays revealed the hip parts with no spacer and noted that the metal cup had slipped and was rubbing against a leg tendon with every step I took. That was the killer.”

Karen’s lab results showed dangerously high elevated levels of chromium and cobalt that are released into the blood as the metal components rubbed against each other. She was also diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure, a direct result of metallosis. Her doctor recommended immediate revision surgery to get rid of metal components. Needless to say, she was shocked.

“In November 2011, two surgeons performed the surgery because they knew beforehand it was going to be difficult,” Karen says. “They removed the Smith & Nephew ball and cup, added the plastic spacer and secured the cup with a screw to my hip bone so it won’t slide. I still have a lot of soft tissue damage in both hips. To this day I can’t lie on my side, I have to sleep propped up and I have constant pain on bending my hips.

“I guess my kidneys are healing themselves but I can’t help but think if I had a better surgeon (than the first one) I wouldn’t be addicted to painkillers. Every time I complained and cried, he just kept giving me more Vicodin: Now I am totally hooked: I take six pills a day for pain and there is nothing more the surgeon can do, nothing can alleviate my problems. I am stuck with this.”

Back in 2008, Karen began to develop severe pain upon walking and it kept getting worse. She was very athletic and chalked it up to overuse. She found her original surgeon from an article in the San Diego newspaper “bragging” about how he did a hip replacement on a female firefighter and she was back on the job in six weeks. She contacted the woman who raved about this surgeon. What better recommendation could you get?

“I didn’t feel my age in 2008 but I sure do now,” she adds. “I found out that a lot of people in the US have Smith & Nephew parts. How do these medical device companies think their product is any different than, say, DePuy? I think the hammer is inevitably going to fall on all of them.

“I recently asked my new surgeon about all the pain in my hips and he just shrugged. I see a pain management specialist next week - I might have to go through a full drug withdrawal program; the more you take, the more you build up to the point that it can cause liver damage. Vicodan does nothing but dull the pain; it does not make me happy. It has just become a vicious cycle.

“I hate taking pills and now I am at my wits end, and I have spent tons of money with these revision surgeries. I just hope that a hip replacement lawsuit will get me some compensation.” Karen adds that she has kept all her surgery reports, all lab tests and she has the removed metal components from her first left hip surgery to serve as evidence.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
After retiring from the military in 2000 they finally figured out what happened to my hip. The fluid was going away between the joint. I put up with pain meds because Dr's. said I was to young to have hip replacement 38. Finally in Dec 08 I had a total right hip replacement, it was never right from the start and was not allowed to put weight on my right leg for 6 weeks. I have went back many times to get checked and every time they said S&N was not on the recall list. I have been on pain meds since 2002 and thought that after the surgery I would be off them, not the case. Been taking them still to this day. Well I went back to Dr and had another blood test done and dr called me back saying the metal levels are too hig that it needs to be replaced. I am going to ask that all the titanium parts be taken out and will go after S&N because of all the pain and suffering that I have went thru. They say quality of life is important and mine has been terrible. I cannot sit on the floor or do the things with my son that fathers do, and defintely cannot ride in a car for very long because the pain is excruciating. I had to provide for my family so not working was not an option. They need to be held accountable for inferior parts being used as replacement joints. I also now have to have the left hip done because I was forced to change the way I walked. After not having much luck with it the first go around am scared to death about going thru all of this again.

Posted by

on
Hello,
i've had to have surgery since 2012. The first one was May 2012 it was a partial hip done for weeks later I fell and was left to walk for four months without any x-rays with excruciating pain until September 2012 when a total hip replacement was done and ever since I've had nothing but trouble and pain pain ambulating pain going up and down steps I've even lost my job
I've been to two other orthopedic surgeons just recently went to the third orthopedic surgeon you planning to do surgery on September 17.
Of interest my chromium and cobalt levels are elevated it's been a year since I've been drawn and that was done I repeat was done last week I was wondering if there's any type of compensation I can GATT for the pain and suffering on the fact of not enjoying my life keeping up with my every day task is there anything that can be done thank you

Posted by

on
Hi same here and i might find some answers here,i live in the uk and in 2006 i was fitted up in a bi lateral at the grand ole age of 34!!...i had the infamous depuy pinnacle system..like mentioned above i can totally relate to the pain,my left one failed suddenly after 6 years,it was revised in 2011 and i was glad as the previous 6 months i was flat on my back and taking copius amounts of morphine...i have had nothing but trouble since with nerves as i also had the metalosis with pseudo tumours,the trouble is within the last month i have been having bad urinary problems and passing blood in urine and incontinence trouble,i had a visit to urology dept last week and they say the bladder and kidneys are free of cancer but when asked at the end the consultant could not answer me when i asked about heavy metals and the effects from these hips...i want to know is the biopsy a way of diagnosing or would the inital tests show anyrthing or what do i need to do..HHHHHHHHELP

Posted by

on
Hi same here and i might find some answers here,i live in the uk and in 2006 i was fitted up in a bi lateral at the grand ole age of 34!!...i had the infamous depuy pinnacle system..like mentioned above i can totally relate to the pain,my left one failed suddenly after 6 years,it was revised in 2011 and i was glad as the previous 6 months i was flat on my back and taking copius amounts of morphine...i have had nothing but trouble since with nerves as i also had the metalosis with pseudo tumours,the trouble is within the last month i have been having bad urinary problems and passing blood in urine and incontinence trouble,i had a visit to urology dept last week and they say the bladder and kidneys are free of cancer but when asked at the end the consultant could not answer me when i asked about heavy metals and the effects from these hips...i want to know is the biopsy a way of diagnosing or would the inital tests show anyrthing or what do i need to do..HHHHHHHHELP

Posted by

on
I had the Smith Nephew Birmingham Hip replacement back in 2007. I have been in pain management since then. My hip is so unstable physical therapy will not touch me. I am in so much pain it is difficult for me to work or carry out my daily activities. I am so depressed, Before this I was so active and outgoing and now I feel like a prisoner of my pain. Since that time I have had my other hip replace and it is fine. THe first hip in 2007 the Smith Nephew hip, I have been told, will have to be taken out and replaced. They do not know what they will find when they go in. They said I could have all kinds of damaged and diseased tissue and tumors around the hip implant. I have not sought the advise of an attorney yet, do you think I should? I am in daily pain and hate the sedentary person I have become because of my to function pain. I have to take up to 6 pain pills per day just to function so I now how you feel. Liz

Posted by

on
Jim Hunter, I have had the same issues and just had a revision done. The best that I can say and I truly stress that you do this. Call [an attorney]

Posted by

on
I had a Smith and Nephew Modular short stem hip put in in January of 2011. Within 6 months I knew that I was not recovering as I should be. My doctor insisted that everything was O.K. and that the hip needed more time to heal. After another six month of getting progressively worse my doctor was still insisting that everything was fine. I switched to a revision expert who immediately told me that the hip had been a very poor choice both because it was short stemmed and modular (2 piece). He replaced the hip in July of last year but it will never be as good as it would have been with just one replacement. The first hip had failed at the modular joint and left me with metal filings and lots of dead tissue to remove. No lawyer will take my case because the hip has not been recalled. Evidently the hip was such a poor choice that no one uses it. Anyone else having similar problems?

Posted by

on
I need a pro-bono lawyer fast. I've had 4 hip replacements since 2007 and have 4x the average of Cobalt poisoning me AND (embarrassingly) I have total urinal incontinence because of the palm sized pouch of metal shards and non-bacterial yellow fluid ate away at the wall of my bladder (see Dr. Tower on YouTube for precise details of the surgery. The pouch of metal shards squirted out at the doctor . . . grisly.
Yet now I've been dropped by the Joseph Lyon Firm working with Levin& Papadino(?) . . . because I had the Smith and Nephew RESURFACINGS, even though both implements failed and left me with . . . o so much of life lost. So much damage to the well-being of this body. I've been propped in bed for about 2.5 years now. But I am excluded. My plight does not matter. Yet, I feel so betrayed. Any other S&M RESURFACING folk out there? I'm writing my congressman: ALL Smith & Nephew implements failed, not just the Total Hip Replacement. Feel free to write me at mickeypamo@gmail.com. Let's pool our energies and get this law changed to include resurfacings.
peace,
ms mickey morgan
p.s. gotta work fast; my statute of limitations is up Dec. 1 2013

Posted by

on
I TOO HAD A SMITH/NEPHEW HIP THAT I WAS TOLD FAILED BY MY DOCTORS SO I HAD TO HAVE IT REPLACED .I HAD THE SURGERY AND ENDED UP ON RESPIRATOR AND HAD TO HAVE KIDNEY DIALYSIS AND WAS IN ICU UNIT FOR 15 DAYS TILL THEY GOT ME STABILIZED THEN THEY SENT ME TO A NURSING HOME FOR 30 DAYS OF 24HR A DAY ANTIBIOTICS AND THIS WHOLE THING HAS CAUSE ME SO MANY PROBLEMS AND I KEEP GETTING THE RUNAROUND FROM DOCTORS AND LAWYERS AND I WENT THRU SO MUCH AND MY FAMILY DID TOO.I FEEL THAT I NEED SOME KIND OF COMPENSATION FOR ALL MY TROUBLE AND I DONT KNOW WHERE TO TURN.I ALMOST DIED AND IT AINT FUNNY AND I FEEL LIKE A GUINEA PIGAND IM STILL IN A LOT OF PAIN AND IM SCARED OF BECOMING ADDICTED SO I PUT UP WITH PAIN AS MUCH A I CAN TOLERATESO I FEEL FOR THIS PERSON

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