DePuy ASR metal hip replacement devices linked to metal toxicity in the bloodstream

As previously reported, on August 26, 2010, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., announced a worldwide recall of two hip implant systems – the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. It is estimated that 93,000 total devices have been implanted worldwide.

During our investigation, we recently spoke with an orthopedic surgeon who refused to use these devices in any of his hip replacement surgeries. The surgeon, who regularly used DePuy devices, did not believe the metal on metal design of this device had been thoroughly tested, and that the long term effects of potential metal toxicity could be a serious problem for hip replacement surgery patients.

There have been numerous reports that the metal from hip implants enter the patient's bloodstream in the form of chromium cobalt ions due to friction from the metal joint. Live Science reported that women who gave birth in two to six years after their hip replacement procedure passed on high levels of cobalt and chromium to their babies. A State of Alaska Epidemiology document reveals that patients with malfunctioning metal hip devices can have up to 100 times higher cobalt levels in their blood an urine than is normal for modern humans (considering that most people now have some level of metal toxicity from environmental exposure). Although cobalt is an essential element in trace amounts, the document clearly states that the element can cause serious adverse health effects in high levels.

Problems that cobalt poisoning can cause include:

  • visual impairment
  • cardiomyopathy
  • cognitive impairment
  • auditory impairment
  • hypothyroidism
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • rashes

The bulletin described two Alaska patients who experienced notable neurological and cardiac symptoms following metal on metal hip replacement surgery. A significant revelation from this report states that:

Patients with impaired renal function may experience cobalt poisoning without the presence of pain despite a well positioned implant because the cobalt released by normal implant wear is not adequately cleared by their kidneys.

If you or a loved one has undergone hip replacement surgery, you should immediately contact your doctor to inquire about the type of device used. Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, it is important to get tested by your doctor for metal toxicity. You should urge your doctor to continuously monitor for any long term complications elevated cobalt levels may cause.

If you have already received a recall notice from your doctor, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation. It's important that you do not wait until you notice symptoms - if the Statute of Limitations expires before you experience problems, you will be unable to pursue legal remedy for future surgeries and treatment.  

Our expert medical device recall lawyers have years of experience successfully resolving medical lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiaries. Call us at 888.285.3333, fill out the form on this page or click "live chat" to speak to one of our representatives.

For more information on cobalt & chromium toxicity, visit our new website that features in-depth interviews with renown metal toxicology expert:


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