Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Problems Top Ortho Surgeons’ List of Biggest Stories in 2010

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted December 27, 2010


Increasing concerns over the risk of problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements was listed as the biggest orthopedic story of the past year in the December 2010 issue of AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) Now. The risk of cobalt toxicity and other complications associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements has not only gotten the attention of orthopaedic surgeons, but has also caused concern for thousands of people who received the implants in recent years.

According to the AAOS, growing concerns over metal hip implant problems dominated the orthopaedic profession more than any other story this year, including the contentious U.S. healthcare reform bill, which placed sixth on the list. (Also featured on the list were concerns over problems with shoulder pain pumps and the risk of chondrolysis.)

Metal-on-metal hip replacements, which are a relatively new design, accounted for about one-third of the 250,000 hip replacements performed each year before concerns about problems started surfacing earlier this year. They became popular due to the belief that the metal structure is more durable than other types of hip implants. However, small metal particles can shed into the body as the parts of the hip replacement rub against each other.

In March 2010, the New York Times published a report that highlighted growing concerns among orthopaedic surgeons about the risk of complications caused by the metal particles from metal-on-metal hip replacements. Some experts warned that one to three percent of all metal on metal hip recipients may experience hip failure, and possibly need to have the devices replaced, due to metallic debris.

The concerns increased as the number of reported DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement problems grew. On March 6, a warning letter was sent to doctors about reports of hip failures and complications associated with the DePuy ASR. Several months later, a DePuy ASR recall was issued, but not until nearly 100,000 of the metal-on-metal artificial hip replacements were sold.

Following the recall, a growing number of people who received the ASR implant have filed an individual DePuy hip replacement lawsuit, alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately test the device or warn about the risk of metal-on-metal hip replacement complications. In addition, lawsuits allege that the manufacturer failed to immediately issue a recall when it became clear that the DePuy ASR was linked to a high failure rate.

While many other hip replacement makers have their own metal-on-metal device, manufacturers have tried to indicate that the increased risk of failure is limited to the DePuy ASR, which contains a shallow cup. However, many believe that the same risk of problems caused by metal poisoning exist with other types of metal-on-metal hip replacements. Some other metal-on-metal hip replacements include the DePuy Pinnacle, DePuy Ultima, Zimmer MMC, Zimmer Metasul, Biomet Ech bi-metric, Biomet M2A-Magnum, Biomet M2A/C2A, Wright Dynasty, Wright Conserve and Wright Metal Transcend.

In October 2010, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) issued a press release with information for patients and the medical community about the potential risk of metal-on-metal hip replacement problems. The AAOS warned that metal-on-metal hip implants can cause cobalt toxicity, a type of metal poisoning. They also warned that pain months after hip replacement surgery may be signs of potential problems.


In addition to investigating potential DePuy hip recall lawsuits, the lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are investigating potential metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuits for individuals with other devices who have experienced problems requiring follow up treatment more than three months following surgery. To review a potential claim for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

17 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Michelle says:

    Help in December of 2005 my husband had a hip replacement and a thigh bone replacement. According to the files they used howmecica model mneridan tmcf-cme for the hip and femmoral componet alumnia-for the thigh bone. Every since the surgery he has had pain where the thigh replacement connects to the knee. What is going on? Is there a recall on these items? We we not told who the manufacture of these parts are.


    Posted on January 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

  • Ellen says:

    I am a previously healthy 55 yr old woman who developed severe traumatic OA in left hip after a 3 yr right ankle problem /surgery. Not overweight, working FT as an RN, building a home and training horses. Had metal-on-metal THA 5/10. NO toxicity or other concerns explained “it’s the best, will last forever”. Prolonged recovery, almost fatal autoimmune reactions, pain recurring as prior to surgery, unable to work, causing OA in both knees, neuro problems, devastating emotional and social consequences. I am pursuing legal recourse now with your firm. NO help from the surgeon, just anger and telling me “you must have Lupus or something”.

    Posted on January 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  • Coco says:

    I had a THR In 2010 metal on metal. The newest and I’ve had nothing but problems. I developed sudden joint pain in my fingers and elbows. Pain in my hip still can’t hardly walk and I do walk with a cane. I feel like my body is going down hill. I’m going in for a revision this month. But had lots of problem since hip replacement.

    Posted on April 17, 2011 at 8:50 pm

  • Robin says:

    64 years old but good shape other than I could not walk. . . Big metal hip replaced June 2010. Pain free since day two. On the spin trainer day 9. Road bike day 17. Skied 100 days this winter. My theory: garbage in garage out. Chum the water with garbage and an attorney will show up.

    Posted on May 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  • Linda says:

    I had revision surgery this April for a metal-on-metal THR done in (Biomet Magnum M2A) in July, 2007.

    Posted on July 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

  • cecil says:

    i had the biomet magnum hip replacement in 2005, and i have had pain ever sence i got it,i am currently on 4 10/325 mg perks a day for my pain,somedays i have to take more than 4, due to the pain in my right hip it has caused me to put more presure on my left hip and now its going bad,, i am a mess

    Posted on July 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

  • Todd says:

    Had a left THR on December 14, 2009 using a large Biomet M2A Magnum, done by a wonderful surgeon in Birmingham, Alabama. NO complications at all…I feel better than I’ve felt in 10 years. Hip works wonderfully well. ALL of my back pain/problems have gone away. If I have to have a replacement again someday, it WILL STILL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT! I love my Biomet M2A Magnum and the fine Doctor who gave me my life back.

    Posted on July 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  • Danny says:

    I had a THR in 2004 and was in extreme pain for 3 years with no help from my doctor (Birmingham, AL). He finally referred me to another doctor (since retired) who said my problems were due to the metal. I had a revision with plastic. I am still in continuous pain but not as severe and have numbness in my leg which causes me to fall. I have not had one day without pain since 2004.I can hardly walk and use a cane.

    Posted on August 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  • Beth says:

    3 years after hip resurfacing with Biomet Magnum- pain, severe weakness arms AND legs. Cannot arise from sitting position. Showers no baths. 69 years old. No help from surgeon and on my own. Feel it is the metals. Have high Cobalt but surgeon says not pathological. Social and all gone to pot. Used to be extremely active. Life change. No help. EMG’s very positive showing axonal deficits mainly. No rheumatoid factors. EMG tester says etiology unknown.

    Posted on December 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

  • Jane says:

    I had a hip done 1/2009. It was metal on metal by Smith and Nephew. I was good for 2 years and when walking i started having sharp pains in that area. I had been very active so just thought I needed to work out more..maybe something was pulled. I called the nurse but she didn’t warn that the MOM had had problems. Finally in
    June i gave in and called to get an appt and my DR did listen and did tell me about MOM issues with other brands..not mine. I continued to think positive and started swimming for exercise..thinking that would help and it did..less pain. But it still didn’t end so I had the testing and my cobalt and chromium level should have been .5 and 4 and mine were 22 and 44. The next thing was the MRI and after that the DR recommended the revision. He said it seemed females had more problems with this metal issue.
    I am feeling much better now after the change out so will see how it goes. This is a real issue though so don’t put it off as long as I did.
    And hopefully the companies that make these MOMs will seriously care about the patients having issues and do their research or will profits be the only concern for them. I am assuming my DR reported this to Smith and Nephew but i certainly never heard from them.

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

  • jim says:

    i had a biomet total hip replacement 2 years ago and i was just told it needed revision surgery asap.the hip replacement has hurt me within weeks of my surgery in which i knew was not a common pain.

    Posted on February 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

  • Ben fr. Seattle says:

    I had a THR done in July of 2010 it was biomet MOM ,I was so happy at first and then the pain came back. Not just pain but with grinding and clicking sound too and it feels it snap . I was put on different anti inflammatory meds. but no help with the pain at all. Finally my Dr. order a blood test , it came back my chromium 88.5 and cobalt 199.9 which is very high. My dr. told me he needs to take it out and I don’t have a choice. I even ask different drs. and said the same thing. I recently had my revision surgery and my surgeon told me that my body severely reacted to the the implant. He did a lot of debridement due to lots of tissue inflamation and metal debris.He replaced the metal head with E-1 Polyethylene articulation head . It’s very frustrating that I had to go through this surgery again.

    Posted on March 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

  • Jeremy says:

    I had bi-lateral hip replacements in 06 at the age of 27. I have AVN from steroid treatments from a accident at work. Ive been in constant pain for a few years now. One hip loose and the other is starting to hurt. The pain is varying from day to day but like most people here is in the hip region until I move around then it effects the whole body. The reason for my post here is that my right arm and elbow are hurting and going numb. Has anyone seen this as a result of heavy metal poisoning from the bio met mom replacements?
    Having this originally being a work comp case has made everything very complicated and slow to receive answers due to the delaying tactics for getting tests done.

    Posted on May 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm

  • Sheldon says:

    in march of 2007 I had a THR using the biomet m2a metal on metal I have been on pain meds ever since the pain gets worse as the weather gets worse my back aches constantly and my digestive system is on the fritz. I feel like I am being poisoned by this implant can’t go on like this.need to have someone explain to me why this is happening to me now.

    Posted on October 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

  • Barbara says:

    Broke left femur Dec. 2012 Had THR Biomet MoM. I started itching right away and told the doctor at the first follow up office visit 2 wks after I got out of the hospital but they ignored me. Actually I saw his PT/Orthopedic Surgery assistant – I have not seen the dr since the surgery. I am still itching 4 months later. This is a symptom of metallosis as I understand it. I am not on any medications. It seems to me that doctors whould be required to do a test to evaluate whether you are allergic to the materials in the implant whether dental or orthopedic. What do an attorneys out there or anyone with info on that have to say ie about the fact that they do not even tell you what the implant will be made of nor about the fact that there are possible allergic reactions.

    Posted on April 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

  • dana says:

    I have had both hips replaced in 2010. Both biomet. Don’t know what model. In 2013 my right one came out of joint to the back 5 times. Went in and had a revision of same hip, then jumped out to the front 4 more times. So 9 times in 2013! Went back to another Dr and he put some sort of clamp around it. So far it is still staying in joint since Sept 2013. Hurts sometimes.

    Posted on February 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

  • sol says:

    I hope you’ve gotten that thing replaced. I had the same problems, being poisoned and suicidal, horrible pain, living hell for seven years. I was dismissed, belittled, misled, and insulted by doctor after doctor who thought I was either faking it, a wimp, searching for the fountain of youth, stupid, or just had weird unknown symptoms that they were unfamiliar with. After suffering for years, having permanently damaged nerves, losing all my social, sex, and creative life, I finally found a doctor who was willing to replace the biomet hip with a ceramic/plastic hip. Some of the pain stopped immediately. Some decreased over the next nine months, and the poisoning decreased gradually until it is now bearable. If biomet had been honest enough to issue a recall, I could have ended the suffering years ago and wold be in a lot better shape than I’m in now. I believe the fact that they denied that their implant was defective was criminal and I wish the had to serve prison sentences for their actions. They ruined my life and hundreds of other people’s lives and they go on happy that they still have pockets full of money and their victims have been shat upon. Get that implant removed immediately, there are probably a few hundred “accidental overdoses” of pain medications caused by the symptoms of these hips that are in fact suicides by victims who can no longer tolerate the pain and sickness caused by MoM hips.

    Posted on December 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm

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