Like many other types of metal-on-metal hip implants, the Biomet M2A hip implant has the potential of causing metallosis which is a form of metal toxicity. Metallosis occurs when the metal components rub against one another, allowing tiny metal particles to shear away and burrow into the tissues around the implant or enter the bloodstream. The body sees these metal particles as foreign bodies and sends out a special type of white cell to attack the foreign body and get rid of it. Unfortunately, the body simply doesn’t have enough white cell armies to combat these higher levels of cobalt and chromium. The longer the implant remains in the body, the more likely the patient’s symptoms are to continue to escalate.
Although some people are much more sensitive to heavy metals in the body than others, once cobalt and chromium begin to accumulate in the body, the surrounding tissues will become inflamed, leading to tissue destruction and death, bone loss and varying levels of pain for the implant recipient. Pseudo tumors—non-cancerous fluid collections or soft tissue which accumulate around the implant—can also lead to failure of the device. Should the tissue and/or bone begin to deteriorate, the patient will likely require a revision surgery to replace the implant with a ceramic or polyethylene implant in order to stop the progression of metallosis. Metallosis can also cause cardiovascular, renal, thyroid and neurological damage, memory loss, vision and hearing loss, gastrointestinal problems, skin issues, and even alterations of DNA and the formation of cancerous cells. Infections can become more and more common as the metallosis worsens.
The Biomet M2a Magnum hip implant has not been recalled, although the device has been associated with various complications which tend to lead to revision surgery. These revision surgeries can be more complex than the initial joint replacement surgery as there is less bone to work with. The complications, including excess blood loss and infection can escalate in revision surgeries. Experts recommend that all patients with a metal-on-metal hip implant have regular physical exams, bone scans to check for tissue and bone abnormalities, and blood tests to check the levels of cobalt and chromium in the body.
While some recipients of the hip implant may have no warning of device failure, the majority will see swelling and inflammation around the implant and they may feel as though their hip implant is loose or unstable. The leg on the side of the implant may develop an odd gait or the leg could weaken when engaged in physical activity. Others have noted a “clicking” noise when walking. The primary symptom is likely pain in the area or in the groin area. See your doctor for regular testing as well as to discuss potential risks. Call a products liability attorney in order to protect your rights and explore your options regarding your future with your metal hip implant.