Understanding Metallosis and Its Dangerous Effects

Posted on Jan 16 2013 at 12:19:13 PM in Health

One of the most serious and dangerous effects of metal-on-metal hip replacement, such as those of DePuy Orthopedics ( a unit of Johnson and Johnson), is metallosis, medical experts say. A primary product of DePuy, ASR hip System, was recalled in 2010 because of high failure rates that is associated with metal toxicity around its implants. Although rare,  it has been observed at an estimated incident of 5 percent of metal joint implant patients over the last 40 years. Probably, those who felt distressed are among those 8,000 recipients who have filed lawsuits seeking compensatory damages. Opening arguments over these cases would be starting soon in the first DePuy state court trial in the United States. There were about 93,000 hip devices gathered since 2010.


Metallosis is described as the putative medical condition involving deposition and build-up of metal debris in the soft tissues of the body.


It is the occurrence of metallic components in the joint hip replacement devices that grinds against another. The rise in toxic level is already being observed in some patients who are either sensitive to the implant or for unknown reason even in the absence of malfunctioned artificial devices.


Men are at higher risk of developing metallosis compared to women. However, those women who are small in stature, and those who are obese, stand at a greater risk for metallosis because their body structure causes more tension on the implant, quickening the abrasion of the metal components and triggering an upsurge of metallic debris. It happens not only on artificial hip joints but as well on knee, shoulder, wrist or elbow joints.


The abrasion of the metal components may cause metal ions to become soluble. The hypothesis is that the immune system detects the metal ions as foreign bodies and inflames the area around the  implant. Such antibody actions against the debris may be incorrect because of the small size of metal ions which may prevent them from becoming haptens. Poisoning from from metallosis is rare, but this putative condition has always been theorized yet unproventhough.


The purported negative impacts of metallosis commonly include pain around the area of the implant; pseudotumors (a mass of inflamed cells that resembles a tumor but is actually collected fluids), and a noticeable rash that indicate necrosis. The damaged and inflamed tissue may also contribute to loosening the implant or medical device. Metallosis may cause dislocation of non-cemented implants as the healthy tissue that would normally hold the implant in place is weakened or destroyed. Moreover, metallosis has been demonstrated to cause osteolysis.


Osteolysis is defined as the dissolution of the bone. It is applied especially in the removal or loss of the calcium of the bone. To know more about related issues, check the DePuy Recall News Center at depuyrecallnewscenter.com.

  Article Information
Author: Caren
Created: Jan 16 2013 at 12:19:13 PM
Updated: Jan 16 2013 at 12:19:13 PM
Category: Health
Language: English