Comment: Hi Earl,
Congratulations on your website, it is such a valuable tool to provide current information and experiences to the many different patients that have experienced negative or difficult results from their joint replacement surgery.
I thought that if I could share my story with your readers that I could hopefully help others in further prevention and identification of issues surrounding their hip replacements.
I received my DePuy (Johnson and Johnson) ASR XL full hip replacement in my right hip in June 2007 at the ripe old age of 37 after years of battling Osteoarthritis that was caused by years of Rugby Union, Martial Arts and generally growing up as an active kid in Australia! I was able to jog after 3.5 months, I returned to work as a Nurse 6 weeks after surgery and was generally a hell of a lot more comfortable than I had been in hte previous years leading up to surgery.
By October 2008, I was starting to have some pain and mobility issues around the right hip and by December 08/January 09 I was suffering with these on a daily basis. I was limping quite noticeably, was having to take pain killing (over-the-counter type) medication to be able to maintain my work life, was irritable in my interactions with others (especially family and those close to me), and was having more frequent headaches and bouts of fatigue. Around this time my GP also noted that my Red Blood Cell count (or Haemaglobin levels) were setting a pattern of being consistently low. In early 2009 I was referred to a Haematologist who informed me after further blood tests that I had a rare form of Anaemia (Macrocytic Anaemia) that was caused by ‘heavy metal poisoning’. I was tested for the usual suspects, lead, mercury, iron, etc, and when these came back clear, the Haematologist told me that there was obviously another source of metal, however he quickly ruled out my hip prosthesis as in his words: “that wouldn’t be the cause as they wouldn’t put an implant in you that wasn’t safe!”.
Throughout 2009 and in to 2010 I became sicker, I was always tired, even then had great difficulty sleeping, suffered from ever-increasing pain and mobility issues to do with my right hip (that my orthopaedic surgeon assured me was actually my right knee or my back), continues to be anaemic, and seemed to catch any little ‘bug or virus’ that those around me contracted. It was almost with a sense of relief in September 2010 that I found out that the ASR had been recalled, had a Cobalt and Chrommium Ion test to find out that I was in the toxic range for both and then a nuclear bone scan to tell me that my implant was that loose in my femur, I might as well have been walking around with a broken leg! Subsequently in November 2010 my ASR was removed completely and my revised hip was installed.
I was surprised again how quickly this appeared to heal at first, I was mobile and relatively comfortable (pain wise) in about 2 months and returned to work after 3 months. The only issue that developed in to 2011 was I had major issues with the Left (opposite) knee as a result of limping for so long prior to my revision and after June 2011 I would get the occasional sharp pain in my right hip which never seemed to last too long but was relatively intense when it came, again i thought that maybe as this was a revision, and I had a larger prosthesis in place, that this was normal. I had an arthroscopy on my left knee as a day proceedure on September 28 (Wednesday) and was due to return to work on the following Monday after a couple of days rest!
On the Thursday (Sept 29, 2011) I was resting at home when I stood up out of a chair and experienced pain like I had never felt in my life coming from my right hip, initially for some reason I thought I had dislocated it. After a week in a wheelchair in hospital, it was discovered with a simple xray, that I had snapped the Titanium femoral stem from my prosthesis without breaking the bone (apparently this is rare, some doctors have told me impossible, however I have the xrays to prove it!). Considering the revision was only 10 months old, I was asking a lot of questions, as to were the many surgeons who took it upon themselves to come and look at my xrays in Hospital!! I had emergency surgery to ‘re-revise’ my right hip, with a femoral Osteotomy (splitting of the femoral bone in half to remove the lower broken portion of the femoral stem) and consequent femoral cabling/wiring repair to put the bone back together. When the surgery was carried out, my surgeon found significant metalosis within the Femur (which had caused a necrotic area where the femoral stem had snapped), there was also metalosis around the top of my femur and in the tissue (muscle and fat) around my femur and hip joint. The surgeon (who carried out both revision operations) has gone on record as blaming the ASR for this condition and a subsequent Cobalt test (since this most recent surgery) has shown that my Cobalt level is actually mildly higher since I had the ASR metal-on-metal implant removed 12 months ago.
I have now been told that with current technology, I will never be able to have another hip replacement, as there is little bone left to work with that is healthy and there are no guarantees on the work that has been done this time around as I only got 10 months out of my last revision. The only ‘sure-fire’ way of testing in the future for my leg, to assess if there is any further risk of metalosis occurring is to have bone biopsies every 6 months from the 12 month anniversary of this recent surgery, as the Doctor feels that this will be the only accurate way to determine if metalosis has returned or re-occurred.
I urge any patient who has currently a metal-on-metal joint replacement and is having any symptoms at all, to please demand not only the appropriate blood tests or imaging necessary to determine if you are having problems with your prosthesis. I would also advise that if you aren’t having any symptoms, but also have a similar prosthesis to please get the tests regardless, as there is now research evidence that even patients who aren’t symptomatic, can still have toxic levels of cobalt in their systems or still also have a physical problem with their implant.
Regards and all the best to you all for 2012,
- A comparison of Leg Length and Femoral Offset discrepancies in Hip Resurfacing, Large Head Metal-on-Metal and Conventional Total Hip Replacement (earlsview.com)
- Bryan’s Story – 28 Years Old, Two Hip Replacements – One dud Smith & Nephew BHR (earlsview.com)
- Nancy’s Journey – chronicling her journey through hip replacement surgery and recovery (earlsview.com)
- Huddersfield patients affected by faulty hip replacements face more surgery – Local West Yorkshire News – News – Huddersfield Examiner (earlsview.com)
- JBJS | A Multinational Assessment of Metal-on-Metal Bearings in Hip Replacement (earlsview.com)
- Total hip replacement for high dislocated hips without femoral shortening osteotomy: (earlsview.com)
- J&J Reimburses Thousands to Australians in Recall Claims | DePuy Hip Replacement Lawsuit Information Site (earlsview.com)
- India State FDA Files Complaint against DePuy with Mumbai Police | DePuy Hip Replacement Lawsuit Information Site (earlsview.com)
- Will Flawed All-Metal Hip Replacements Cost J&J and Zimmer $5 Billion? – Forbes (earlsview.com)
- Australia – Government Enquiry into Hip Replacements (earlsview.com)
Hi Earl and Stuart,
What a bum wrap to get at such a young age! I will pray for you Stuart that technology catches up to your needs so you don’t suffer more going into your golden years. With the type of education you have you should still be able to earn an income for yourself and your family. It doesn’t make it any easier to face what you are going to face and I trust you may have taken steps to seek out legal advice on any recourse available to you. I don’t want to even think that my hip may fail me in such a manner… I will keep you in my prayers.
Be well my total hip friend,
From a ceramic hip replacement patient from the US
Stuart Cain said:
My apologies for the tardy reply, but I have been on holidays (without computer access) and have been flat out at work since return! I appreciate your kind thoughts and also very much appreciate the opportunity to share with others. I am of course involved in legal action here (which I assume will take years), I have been back to the surgeon today because of increasing pain to find out that two of the cables holding my ‘split’ femur together have lifted and are now sticking in to the muscle around the bone so whenever I move it reminds me it is there! However I will continue to be involved with the media interest in the case here, you can see it by ‘googleing’ my name, and also standing up for the many patients that have been put in harms way!
jackie anderson said:
when you say cables have shifted……?? Please tell me if this is any remotly close to what the doc is wanting to do to me in a few short weeks. He wants to put cadaver bones on both sides of my femur and wrap with what he calls, metal bands?? Sounded alot alike, I am very worried as I am having a revision at the same time due to grinding of my hip replacement and colbalt and chromeum levels being elevated. Had my replacement less that 2 years and I am 46 years old. I like my durgeon and he is highly recomended but I feel kinda wierd about all of it, I guess cause I dont understand it. Please share when you have time, Thanks, Jackie
I have 4 bands or wires around my femur and had two bone graphs – dead guys bones – and it worked really well. I have lots of new bone growth and my femur is much stronger and way better. When I had the Mom hip the bone was shrinking and dying. I am happy I had it done. Bone grafts work really well. It seems to be the only way to restore the damage done by the MoM toxic hips.
jackie anderson said:
Thats great! And thanks so much for the reply, I dont know of anyone else that has had this done, so that does make me feel some better about it!! enjoy your day, Jackie
Stuart Cain said:
I would recommend using the bands or wire, as we need them to support the bone during the healing process, because of the amount of work that is being done on patients like all of us, these bands or wires have become an absolute must, however like all non standard equipment for the body, they are still at risk of having issues. The best thing you can have is as much information about them as possible, and monitor your own body, be very aware of any different pain or discomfort to ‘the norm’ that you are used to, and make sure you act on this.
Stuart Cain said:
Unfortunately these metal bands are generally the best option, the only other real choice is to use a ‘K wire’ that would be wrapped or threaded around all of the bone that needs stabilising, both have their disadvantages, however either could be an option. The difficulty with these, as with anything else that is introduced in to your body, is that they can move or shift and then you often have pain issues with that. In the short to mid term however, they will give you the best chance for sound healing of the bone as they do ‘keep things held together’, just make sure that the surgeon fully explains whether they expect the bands or wires to be in forever, until healing is complete (bone) or for a designated amount of time. My surgeon is now talking about replacing a couple of mine that I was originally told would be ‘in forever’. Clear information will be your best asset. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
jackie anderson said:
Bless your heart, that is a scary story and im so sorry you had to go through all of that and I pray this revision will be the one that works for you. Hurts my heart to read that………..my levels are elevated but not real high, and i have a metal on metal, i am going to have revision surgery soon. i have tried to put it off because i am scared to be honest. the surgeon says that i have “a large piece of metal” meaning my hip replacement and my bones are small and my femor just cant handle it, my femur hurts all the time, sometimes takes my breath. he wants to put donated bone on both sides of my femur and band it with metal bands and change out biomet mom to a stryker replacement. I dont even know where to start, i read up on styker but does not mean much to me, as i dont know much about any of them. I can just pray that it all goes well, i am 46 and had my surgery 1 1/2 years ago at 44.. good luck to you and God bless, please post again so we will know how you are………….
Stuart Cain said:
Thank you for your kind thoughts, I am still going through some ‘issues’ with my leg but I have sort of accepted that this may be as good as it gets! I would recommend to you to proceed with your surgery as soon as possible because unfortunately one thing I have learnt is that the longer the ‘faulty’ component is inside you, the more damage it can be doing. I am having some issues with the metal bands holding my femur together but I would rather deal with that than random bits of metal that are out of my control. Just make sure that what ever brand you get it is not Metal-on-metal!!!!!
jackie anderson said:
I know we already talked about these bands but…since you are having more issues with yours now, would you still recomend letting the doc but them in?
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