Howard Piper remembers the overwhelming fatigue that first hit him in 2011. He was driving when he was overcome with exhaustion, and plowed right into the path of an oncoming car. Luckily, no one was injured in the crash, but Howard was baffled by his sudden and overwhelming bout of fatigue.
It was just the beginning of strange symptoms that would plague him for years to come. The fatigue became chronic, and he also became irritable and began suffering from tinnitus, a bothersome ringing in the ears.
He eventually discovered the cause of his problems – his artificial metal hip implant.
Howard learned that he wasn’t the only hip implant patient who had suffered a series of strange symptoms. They all had been implanted with a type of hip implant constructed with all metal parts.
Traditional hip implants are made of plastic or ceramic parts, but the metal-on-metal hip implants were designed to be more durable for younger and more active patients. There are several manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, including Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, and Smith & Nephew.
Surgeons soon discovered that the implants were failing at a higher than expected rate due to bits of metal flaking off into the joint space. This inflamed and damaged surrounding tissue and sent metal ions – chromium and cobalt – into the bloodstream, potentially causing a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.
Symptoms of metallosis are hard to pin down. Some patients suffer chronic headaches. Others, like Howard, have endured bouts of overwhelming fatigue.
Thousands of patients, including Howard, have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of all-metal hip implants, claiming the devices were not thoroughly tested to rule out dangerous side effects.
In Howard’s case, he contends that after he had his metal-on-metal hip implant removed, the level of metal in his blood dropped back to normal and his symptoms disappeared.
Source: Daily Mail