The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forwarded DePuy a letter of non-approval on metal implants, which has recently been disclosed, says the New York Times. It contains some surprising statements about DePuy hip replacement failure data. Another article in the Times disclosed that “all hip devices, regardless of the material, create debris as the ball rotates and rubs against the cup-like socket.” This remark relates to reports about some metal-on-metal hip replacement devices which allegedly causes  heavy metal toxicity in some recipients. The Stryker hip replacement recall broadens definition of metal-on-metal hip.

Heavy metals such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are some of the common heavy metals to which patients who had a hip replacement surgery using metal-on-metal artificial hip devices are exposed. Heavy metal toxicity occurs when there is an excessive amount of heavy metal detected in the person's bloodstream. The heavy metal accumulation is usually normalized through the excretion of these harmful substances from our body. 

Nonetheless, excessive build-up of unwanted heavy metals occurs in cases where the person is genetically unable to excrete the substance. This also happens when a disease impairs the cleaning function of the body.

Transporting of microscopic metal parts into the body due to metal components rubbing against each other is one effect of design problems with DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant devices, medical researchers say. The presence of the metal parts may boost the amount of chromium and cobalt in the blood. This may cause metallosis (blood poisoning) and genotoxicity (genetic damage). Below are various signs and symptoms of heavy metal toxicity:

  • Dizziness
  • Brain fogging,  which is a state of forgetfulness and confusion)
  • Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
  • Migraines and/or headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Food allergies
  • Chronic pain throughout the muscles and tendons or any soft tissues of the body
  • Chronic body malaise, which is a general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and illness
  • Chronic infections such as Candidiasis
  • Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion
  • Nervous system malfunctions, which include burning sensation of the extremities, numbness, tingling sensation/paresthesia, paralysis, and/or an electrifying feeling throughout the body

Furthermore, tumors and cancer may also arise because of cobalt and chromium in the patient’s blood. In worse cases, complete failure of hip devices happens, resulting in more serious health problems. Other complications include loosening of hip device, additional hip replacement surgery, detachment of hip device from the bone, unexplained hip pain, hip dislocation, bone fractures, bone loss, and tissue damages.

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of heavy metal toxicity is thought to be caused by another chronic disease such as autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis. Thus, one needs to have a check-up with a specialist. Afflicted recipients of defective hip replacement products are relieved by the announced DePuy hip replacement recall. The recall led others to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company.