If you’ve been impacted by the Stryker hip recall, it’s likely that by now, you’ve heard of a disorder called “metallosis.”  Metallosis is a condition that occurs when toxic metal debris shed from a metal hip replacement device builds up in the soft tissue surrounding the joint. Several alleged victims of the Stryker Rejuvenate recall have already filed Stryker hip recall lawsuits which, among other things, claim they were forced to undergo revision surgery due to metallosis caused by their implant. Understanding metallosis and its symptoms is one way victims of the Stryker Rejuvenate recall can protect their health.

The Stryker hip recall was issued on July 6, 2012, after Stryker determined the Rejuvenate and AGB II modular neck-stems were prone to fret and corrode at the modular-neck junction. The Stryker Rejuvenate and AGB II modular neck-stems consist of a cobalt and chromium neck and a titanium stem. When the metal components of a Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant rub together, corrode or fret, they may deposit dangerous amounts of metal debris into the surrounding tissue. Over time, the tissue surrounding the Stryker hip implant will react to that metal debris, resulting in metallosis.

Noticeable symptoms of metallosis associated with the Stryker Rejuvenate recall can include:

  •  Pain in the hip or groin months or years after surgical pain should have subsided.
  •  Loosening of the hip implant.
  •  Instability and difficulty walking.
  •  An increase in noises (pops, squeaking) from the Stryker hip.
  •  Swelling

Inside the patient’s body, metallosis may result in the formation of pseudotumors, tissue necrosis (death), and effusion (build-up of fluid around the joint). The tissue affected by metallosis may turn black or gray.  Stryker hip recall patients suffering from metallosis may also have high levels of metal ions in their blood streams.

Untreated, metallosis from a recalled Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant can result in significant bone and tissue loss. Osteolysis, or periprosthetic osteolysis, is a common consequence of severe metallosis. This bone-weakening condition occurs when there are not enough new bone cells being made to replace old bone cells. In Stryker Rejuvenate patients, osteolysis may occur when their immune system reacts to the metal debris shed by the implant.

Some studies have indicated that long-term exposure to elevated levels of metal ions in the blood stream can lead to other serious, long term health problems.  For example, a 2010 study titled “Cobalt Toxicity in Two Hip Replacement Patients” detailed a number of symptoms that at first glance, wouldn’t appear to be associated with metal hip implants, including rashes, tinnitus, headaches, irritability, shortness of breath, tremors, memory loss, a loss of coordination, and vertigo. Both patients in the study also had high levels of cobalt ions in their blood. Following revision surgery to remove and replace the metal components, they each reported an improvement of their symptoms.

Revision surgery is the only possible treatment for metallosis caused by a malfunctioning Stryker Rejuvenate device or other metal hip implant device. However, the complexity of hip revision surgery increases the likelihood that complications, including infection and trauma, will occur.  What’s more, revision surgery complications become more likely the  longer a patient has been suffering from metallosis, due to the increased amount tissue and bone loss they may have suffered. That’s why it’s so important for victims of the Stryker hip recall to consult their doctors if they experience pain, swelling or any other symptoms that could indicate their implant has failed.

Published October 8, 2012 by