The Link Between Hip Implants And Brain Injury
While the physical risks of all-metal hip implants have been extensively documented, scientists are only now learning more about the mental risks.
These devices contain high levels of cobalt. While this metal has not been studied as extensively as mercury, lead and some other heavy metals, researchers firmly believe that cobalt is as toxic to the brain as these other substances. The difficulty in studying the effects of all-metal hip implants on the brain has further hampered efforts, as the best way to conduct such research is to surgically remove the devices. However, doctors can use PET scans to look for early signs of brain injury.
Prominent Dr. Robert Bridges called cobalt the “new mercury” and urged device makers to use other materials.
How Hip Implants Break Down
Many people are still talking about the $1 billion verdict that all-metal hip implant victims obtained in December 2016. But that result came as no suprise to attorneys and advocates who have watched the hip implant disaster unfold.
When hip bones grind together, the movement shaves off tiny organic particles, which the body naturally absorbs. Later, when that movement occurred in the first artificial hip implants, tiny nontoxic plastic particles entered the bloodstream. However, when all-metal hip implants grind together, the shavings are metal as well, and since most hip implants are made with dense and heavy metals, these particles are toxic.
The resulting metallosis inflames the surrounding tissue, which often causes the all-metal hip implant to slide out of place. At that point, victms lose much of their mobility because they experience intense pain, and the only remedy is to have the device surgically removed. Unfortunately, the tissue damage may be permanent at that point.
Although there are still widespread incidents of environmental metal poisioning, such events are statistically uncommon, and most of the 1.7 million annual head injuries in the United States result from trauma injuries, like falls and motor vehicle crashes.
Regardless of the underlying cause, the effects are very much the same. Initially, many head injury victims are either partially or entirely comotose. They may also experience nausea and vomiting. Brain injuries are easiest to treat at this point.
Later, these initial symptoms give way to personality changes, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), trouble sleeping, and other such effects. Eventually, victims begin to suffer dementia-like symptoms, such as memory loss and loss of function. Advances brain injuries are much harder to treat.
The treatment usually involves physical therapy, because for the most part, dead brain cells never regenerate.
All-metal hip implants may be more dangerous than anyone believed. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Franklin, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. An attorney can arrange for victims to receive ongoing medical treatment, even if they have no money and no insurance.