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Pseudotumors: Hip Replacement Complication

Pseudotumors hip replacement complication

Nearly 270,000 primary total hip arthroplasty are performed each year in the United States and may number 570,000 by 2030. Many of these patients experience a successful outcome; however, an unexpected complication for metal-on-metal hip implant recipients to be aware of is a condition called pseudotumors.


What is a Pseudotumor?

Pseudotumors are a large solid or semi-liquid mass surrounding the hip implant. They are a non-cancerous soft tissue growth that may occur when metal particles irritate tissue in the hip.

They can occur as a result of inflammation, a buildup of fluid or some other tissue reaction. Formation has been associated with high blood levels of cobalt and chromium and may be caused by:

  • Worn particles coming off the device
  • An increase in metal ion levels in the blood caused by debris that is given off from the friction of the hip implant device
  • Hypersensitivity

While these are not cancerous masses, they can cause serious health conditions.

Questions? Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

Pseudotumor Research

Research has shown that one-third of hip replacement patients will go on to develop a one-inch or larger pseudotumor

Another research study published in June 2012 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that pseudotumors were 10 times more likely to occur in patients with metal-on-metal hip implants. The researchers also found that patients who had a high amount of cobalt in the bloodstream were 4 times more likely to have a pseudotumor.


Symptoms of Pseudotumors

Pseudotumors can grow without causing symptoms for months or years. In fact, by the time a psdudotumor causes severe symptoms, extensive tissue damage may have already occurred. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain around the hip joint
  • Swelling and/or inflammation
  • Clicking sound in the hip
  • Misalignment of the joint
  • Decreased walking ability or range of motion

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pseudotumors

Not all pseudotumors cause problems or need to be treated, and, in many cases, they may not even show up on the X-rays.

When diagnosing pseudotumors you doctor may use a combination of:

  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • Blood test
  • Aspiration (a needle used to drain fluid from the joint to rule out infection)

Hip replacement pseudotumors can cause pain, inflammation and other discomfort when they press against nerves and blood vessels near the joint. They can even grow until they dislocate the hip joint. At some point, your doctor may recommend revision surgery to remove the pseudotumor and replace the metal-on-metal hip device. These surgeries can be painful, debilitating and expensive.


Other Complications of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

There are other complications you should be aware of, which include:

  • Metallosis, a type of metal poisoning that occurs when toxic levels of metal build up in the body
  • Cobalt and Chromium toxicity, another type of metal poisoning
  • Cobalt cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle
  • Pain in the hip joint
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Tissue damage or death (necrosis)
  • Bone loss
  • Decreased walking ability or changes in gait

Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.


Do You Need Legal Assistance? Receive a Free Evaluation From Experienced Attorneys

If you or a family member suffers from adverse effects from a failed hip replacement, contact our legal team in Kansas City. The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato offer a free, no-obligation case review to individuals who have suffered complications allegedly associated with failed metal-on-metal hip implant systems. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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