In April, 2012, Stryker Orthopedics issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice to hospitals and surgeons, warning them of the potential risks of the Rejuvenate and ABGII hip implants, including symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity. By July, 2012, a recall of the two hip devices was issued, leading many recipients of the hip implants to wonder whether their health was at risk and how serious symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity really were. At the time of the recall Stryker stated a risk of fretting and corrosion, leading to excess shedding of metal debris into the body.
Symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity were found to result from the metal debris which found its way into the patient’s bloodstream. When the metal neck junction corroded, metal ions could shear away from the implant, leading to serious issues, including symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity. Despite the use of a ceramic ball, the Rejuvenate and ABGII nonetheless had areas prone to corrosion during periods of activity by the patient.
The tiny metal shards could additionally lodge in the hip tissue, causing symptoms of metallosis, such as: including severe inflammation, infection, chronic pain, deterioration of hip tissue and bone loss. When the problem has become severe enough, total hip failure is likely. The metal ions which enter the bloodstream are responsible for symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity and metal poisoning. Cobalt does not accumulate in the body, therefore—barring damage to the kidneys—when the defective implant is removed, the cobalt levels should begin to decline. Cobalt metal debris can result in extremely serious medical conditions, including:
· Gastrointestinal disorders
· Nerve damage
· Thyroid issues
· Kidney failure
· Skin rashes
· Internal hemorrhage
· Pulmonary syndrome
· Chronic headaches
· Memory loss
· Cardiovascular and neurological issues
· Loss of vision and hearing
Stryker advertised the Rejuvenate and ABGII as being extremely long-lasting as well as being safer than other metal-on-metal hip implants, many of which had caused metal poisoning and metallosis among patients. Unfortunately, only a short time after the FDA granted approval for the two hip devices, and they began being marketed, consumers began noting adverse effects from the implants, such as symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity.
Some of the lawsuits which have been filed against Stryker since the recall, allege the company was negligent in their failure to warn consumers about the potential for symptoms of cobalt toxicity and metallosis. Past studies have cautioned against the use of dissimilar metals due to the excessive corrosion generated and the risks of symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity. Stryker has declined to comment on the actual failure rate of the recalled implants, however many feel that number could be as high as 40%.
Patients who have suffered symptoms of Stryker cobalt toxicity must speak with their physician and have the appropriate blood work done to test the levels of cobalt and chromium. Some patients harmed by the recalled Stryker hip implants could benefit from a consultation with an experienced Stryker attorney as well.