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DePuy Hip Implants and Chromium Metal Dangers

Published: 2013-01-15 - Updated: 2017-06-06
Author: Thomas C. Weiss | Contact: Disabled World (

Synopsis: Information regarding DePuy Hip Implants and the dangers of elevated levels of chromium in the blood.

Main Digest

March of the year 2010 found the New York Times reporting that DePuy Orthopedics had warned doctors that its ASR hip replacement cup, also referred to as a, "socket," was failing in people within a few years after hip replacement surgery when the implants should have been expected to last fifteen years or more. The failures may lead to expensive and highly painful replacement operations called, "revision operations." The Food and Drug Administration approved DePuy's ASR implant cup and metal ball for use in America in the year 2005. There are approximately 140,000 people in America who have received a DePuy metal on metal hip implant.


Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Hip prostheses consist of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal. Hip replacement is typically used for people with hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury. Followed by rehabilitation, hip replacement can relieve pain and restore range of motion and function of your hip joint (

The US Drug Watchdog's goal is to get every DePuy Pinnacle hip implant recipient identified to an attorney because if the implant has failed, or is failing, the person who received the implant may have elevated levels of chromium in their blood. While several thousand people have signed up for a class action because of the failure of their DePuy hip implant, the numbers of people who have are not nearly enough. The US Drug Watchdog believes the numbers should be over seventy thousand. Europe is suggesting failure rates of metal hip implants of fifty-percent.

Health Risks Related to Chromium

The presence of few serious adverse effects linked to a high intake of chromium finds the Institute of Medicine failing to establish a, 'Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL),' for the mineral. A, 'UL,' is the maximum daily intake of a nutrient that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects. A UL is one of the values that comprise the Dietary Reference Intakes for each nutrient, along with the RDA and AI. Chromium may; however, interact with some medications.

Certain medications might interact with chromium, particularly if a person takes them on a regular basis. It is important to check with a doctor before taking dietary supplements; especially if prescription medications or over-the-counter medications are also something the person takes. The following medications alter a person's stomach acidity and might impair chromium absorption, or enhance its secretion:

Certain medications can have their effects enhanced if they are taken along with chromium, or they might increase the absorption of chromium. These medications include the following:

The US Drug Watchdog does not want people who have received a DePuy metal on metal hip implant to find themselves paying the costs for the premature failure of their implant. The group is encouraging people who have the implants to get a blood test to find out if they have an elevated level of cobalt, or chromium in their blood. If you have one of these implants you can learn more by calling: 866-714-6466.

Issues with the DePuy Hip Implant

Issues people have experienced with the DePuy implant include pain, swelling, and difficulties with walking. If the symptoms are persistent they may be signs of a loose or even a detached implant, fracture of the bone around it, or dislocation of the implant's components.

A revision surgery to replace a defective DePuy hip implant may be long and complex and is more likely to result in complications that the original surgery. The reason is because there is a reduced amount of bone for a surgeon to work with due to the loss of bone during the original implant procedure. People who receive revision surgery to replace a hip implant are nearly four times as likely to experience a dislocated hip.

Unfortunately, the implant has failed in many people and has required revision repeatedly. The defect in the DePuy hip implant is due to its minimal clearance, which is the space the space between the outer diameter of the head of the device and the inner diameter of the shaft. Small clearances become an issue in relation to shifting and loosening of the cup or the femoral stem.

Sadly, due to the minimal or inadequate clearance, a person's usual body movement creates torque which is detrimental to the cup and stem of the implant and may lead to early loosening and excessive wear and tear on to the implant. The DePuy Pinnacle metal implant devices are failing at high rates. The clearance on the product is similar to the low clearance levels of the DePuy ASR device.

Dangers Associated with the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant

The issue with metal on metal hip replacement products is the design may cause the metal components to rub together and result in microscopic shards of metal being deposited into a person's bloodstream. The deposited shards of metal may also result in damage to surrounding soft tissues, inflammation, and bone loss. The damage to surrounding areas of a person's body may lead to a premature loosening of the implant components and eventually - failure of the implant itself.

The most common complaint related to the DePuy Pinnacle implant is premature loosening of the implant, although more serious issues have been known to happen. Specifically, some people have experienced bacterial infections, particularly people who are elderly or obese, as well as the formation of blood clots. Blood clots can result in damage to a person's cardiovascular system.

The most concerning risk is related to blood metal poisoning referred to as, 'metallosis,' a condition where shards of metal are deposited from the implant into the person's bloodstream. Signs and symptoms of metallosis can include the following:

People who endure a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant failure commonly have to also undergo a painful revision surgery to correct the failure. Revision surgeries are many times more complicated and difficult, as well as being more painful than the original implantation surgery. Even more, failure of these implants are often times associated with damages to surrounding bone and tissues in a person's body, something that ultimately makes the person's rehabilitation process more difficult too. If you or someone you love has received a DePuy hip implant, please contact the US Drug Watchdog immediately at: 866-714-6466.

US Drug Watchdog Now Urges DePuy Pinnacle Metal Hip Recipients To Get A Blood Test -

Author Credentials:

Thomas C. Weiss is a researcher and editor for Disabled World. Thomas attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida.

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Cite This Page (APA): Thomas C. Weiss. (2013, January 15). DePuy Hip Implants and Chromium Metal Dangers. Disabled World. Retrieved September 18, 2021 from