In recent years, similar problems have plagued many patients with DePuy ASR, DePuy Pinnacle, Wright Profemur and other “metal-on-metal” hip replacement systems. The Biomet Magnum device includes chromium and cobalt in its composition, and both the femoral head and the acetabular cup contain these metals.
The friction caused by the two surfaces rubbing against each other while in motion may result in very small metal fragments being shed into the surrounding tissue and blood stream. This can cause tissue damage, inflammatory reactions, bone loss, necrosis and a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons sounded an alarm in October 2010 regarding potential problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements. Its warning, directed to consumers and medical providers, stated that pain continuing for months following implantation might be a symptom of metallosis (metal poisoning).
More than 80,000 metal-on-metal artificial hip devices are implanted in patients annually in the United States. Anyone who presently is considering a hip implant procedure would be wise to discuss alternatives with his or her surgeon. Potentially safer fabrication materials include ceramics, crosslinked polyethylene and plastic. About two-thirds of all hip devices implanted now are made, at least in part, of these materials.