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Old 02-06-2015, 02:07 AM
Old Codger Old Codger is offline
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Default Allergic to Chromium, Nickel and Cobalt in metal

This odessey started when my right forearm started to pain me in 1998. I thought it was a mild fracture, but wound up with a partial-fused cervical spine due to nerve impingement after going to an orthopedic surgeon, instead of a neuro-surgeon. Not sure that I made the better decision. But will allow the game to play out before I cast the stone. Since the fusion of C4&5 and C5&6, with cadaver bone held together with mesh, a plate and some five screws of titanium I remember being told, I have developed neuropathy in my toes, feet and lower legs. After seeing about eight med docs for the problem, including three neurologists, I underwent another two surgicals for spinal stenosis in Sept 2002 to the lumbar spine that I was told would take care of the problem of neuropathy. It didn't! Only made my bank account smaller and my back weaker. This neuropathy has continued to intensify to where I am in pain and most uncomfortable 24/7. I also have some other symptoms besides the neuropathy and eczema/itching that I suspect are part of this partial fusion with metal parts. My life has become very limited. I want to stay off of my feet. I have been looking for answers.

By accident, I think that I have found the answer, after polishing the chrome of a vintage motorcycle that I bought at an auction in October, and coming down with a good case of eczema/itching. The polish dust probably covered my hands, unthinkingly. That drove me to my dermatologit, who did a 69-item patch test. He found that I am reactive (allergic) in a very positive way to chromium, nickel and cobalt, along with blue dye and yellow dye. Cobalt compounds are added to get blue color many times, and chromate compounds are added for the yellow color. My doc suggested that I study the Internet for what I need to avoid environmentally and foodwise. He mentioned that he had another patient while doing his residency, with the same condition, that upon questioning, admitted to having taken a new job about six weeks earlier at a plant that chromed car bumpers. After taking the doc's suggestion of changing jobs, the patient told him that the problem went away in about five weeks.

Chromium, nickel and cobalt are used to make stainless steel. Our society has gone stainless steel, if you will look around. It is everywhere, even on the dining table with the cutlery. Some coffee makers use a stainless steel carafe with the heat bringing out more chromium/nickel ions from the metal. And one has to consider food also. Chromium is the fourth most extensive element on earth. Plants take it up readily.... and give it to us, readily, too.

A few weeks ago, I did a long drive to a class re-union by myself that gave me much time to think. Thankfully, I remembered that in July 1981, I had a falling accident that fractured my left hip and my left elbow area. Metal plates and screws were used to keep everything together, at least until they healed. The metal screwheads were rather painful I found as I moved around, and touched things against them. However, after some time, that I cannot remember how long, I developed the same neuropathy that developed in later years after my cervical fusion. I had thought that the neuropathy back then was caused by the strenuous exercise that I was doing to build myself back up. Actually, I did not know the word neuropathy or what it meant back then. I didn't learn about it, until I started to see med docs after my cervical fusion for the things that I felt or did not feel in my toes, feet and later, lower legs. I realized on the driving trip recently that that neuropathy of my first encounter went away after I had the metal taken out. Bingo! I thought. At last, I have the answer.

I have written the orthopedic surgeon who put the metal in as part of my cervical fusion. And just yesterday, my wife made contact with one of his assistants. It seems that he will order some tests for me, and we will talk about it. I am very happy that I can hope to be rid of this neuropathy.

I am cautious on account my dermatologist mentioned that American medical doctors are not of the opinion that chromium, nickel or cobalt cause an allergic reaction, but that doctors elsewhere are of the opinion.

I am here at this forum to find out if anyone else may have had this problem of chromium, nickel and cobalt allergy causing neuropathy or eczema/itching, or any other problem. It would seem that many of the "appliances" that are used in spine surgeries might be condusive to creating this type of allergic reaction, if this is true.

And to learn what options I may have doing other spine surgery if the "degenerative spine disease" that I was told in 1999 by the orthopedic surgeon that I have, progresses.

Oh! to make the soup of problems more interesting, I was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease in 2000, that I fought for some ten years. According to one test, I have cleared my body of the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, and it feels as though I have won that battle. For a long time, I thought that the bacteria were eating on the myelin of my nerves, until I realized recently the connection of my previous neuropathy going away with the removal of the metal from my fracture repairs, and being told of my allergy to the metals. I can no longer blame the lowly bacteria for my trouble.

In 2011, I discovered another possible culprit that might cause the neuropathy. I read the English investigative reporter, Christopher Bryson's 2004 book entitled, THE FLUORIDE DECEPTION. 72% of American water districts put "Hydrofluorosilicic Acid -- HFS" into our drinking water to give everyone the fluoride that has been declared (erroneously) good for us. It may be where many spine problems emanate from. It may be the cause of osteoporosis, with the HFS's lead, mercury, fluoride, and other toxic compounds in it. This HFS is the residue that is salvaged from the wet-scubbers mandated by the EPA to remove the toxins from the smoke that was killing the plants, animals, and possibly people that got caught in the smoke of certain industries. The water districts find it cheaper to add this very hazardous product to our drinking water because it is cheap and contains some fluoride, than add a less toxic product. According to Bryson, the only study to see the effects of fluoride/fluorine on the whole body was done at the Forsythe Dental Lab in Boston, MA circa 1950's or 1960's. They used Beagle dogs. But when the lab found that the fluoride was injurying/destroying the nervous system of the dogs, the lab stopped the test, and sat on the results... until Bryson used the FOIA to get at and publish the results in his book.

I have done a protocol to reduce my accumulated fluoride in my system to a very small amount. And, my neuropathy has continued and intensified. Now, a mean eczema/itching has come forth.

A DEXA exam that I had maybe ten to twelve years ago caused a print out... "according to WHO criteria" of "osteopenia", or some such wording.

But I have now tested positive on a patch test for chromium, nickel and cobalt, which is part, IMHO, of all, or almost all, metal put into our body systems for spine surgeries and other purposes. And, I realize now that when metal parts were put in earlier years, I developed the neuropathy, and the neuropathy then dissipated when those parts were taken out of my body. I hope that my surgeon orders a "metal LTT" test. I would be delighted that it confirms the patch test. My quest might be ended!!!

So! I am studying and learning once more. I want to get rid of this neuropathy before I die.

Thank you for allowing me to learn this new material about the spinal surgeries.
Wishing all wellness!
Old Codger
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79 year old, loves to be very active, but am hampered as time goes on. Partial Cervical Fusion in July 1999, C4&5, C5&6; 2 each-Surgicals for Spinal Stenosis to eliminate neuropathy in feet and lower legs-Sept 2002, no help; Neuropathy cont'd for fifteen years; Clue to neuropathy from past history and new found info of allergy to chromium, nickel and cobalt.

Last edited by Old Codger; 02-06-2015 at 03:52 AM. Reason: Make it easier to read by setting paragraphs apart.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2015, 09:17 AM
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jss jss is offline
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Codger, what a story.

The poster on this site that goes by the handle, Maddie, no longer posts here, but did have the same metal allergies you did. However, she discovered the problem BEFORE surgery, prompting the surgeon to use ceramic rather than metal implants. Here is the link to her outcome where she discusses her metal problem.

Good luck!
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C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2015, 01:14 PM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Thx for posting that Jeff!

Old Codger, send Maddie a PM. If you don't hear from her, let me know..
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Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2015, 05:10 PM
Old Codger Old Codger is offline
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Thanks, JSS and Harrison, for your helpful comments!!!

I will PM Madder for her experience.

I did speak with my orthopedic surgeon's assistant this noontime-ish.

She conveyed the docs thoughts that he does not believe that the metal is the cause of my trouble, but that he is agreeable to taking out the metal.

He has ordered a Ct-scan and MRI for me, which is now scheduled at the end of this month, and I have an appointment date with him in March, the earliest possible. He left my doing a metal-LTT for me to arrange with my primary care doc.... which I already have an Rx order for the blood withdrawal.

I wish to make sure that I get the best and most suitable lab and which test for the doing. I am presently studying what is on this forum in the way of comments for such test... or other test, be there one.

I do have faith in his ability to do cervical surgery. He has done hundreds, if not thousands. Anyone wishing his name and location, may contact me via a PM.

I do not relish another anterior cervical surgery though. But because metal insensitivity was not considered for my cervical surgery to correct a pinched nerve, I now must undergo another surgery, and recuperation.

In looking up something on the web just moments ago, I came across this site... Avoid Surgery For Back Pain and Neck Pain | Rowe Neurology Institute I have no experience with this group, but like their thinking. The thinking may be valuable for someone. It is their thinking that I think is good from my past experience, not necessarily going to the group.

I have had other back problems, lumbar, three or four times in my life other than what I mentioned about this cervical metal problem. They would be classified crippling by most people, I think. Luckily, I had read a small book that advocated very much as this site does... proper exercise. I did that, and was successful, without any medical or therapist help. I just followed the exercises in that book, which name I have lost through the years. I never had to have any surgery for those lumbar bad times.

I let my guard down with my cervical problem. I had just moved into this area, knew almost no one, much less doctors, so relied on advice that I perhaps should not have relied upon. I now think that all metal implants should consider rejection/allergic reaction/sensitivity to what is implanted.

Such is life! Sie La Vie!

Wellness to All....

Old Codger
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79 year old, loves to be very active, but am hampered as time goes on. Partial Cervical Fusion in July 1999, C4&5, C5&6; 2 each-Surgicals for Spinal Stenosis to eliminate neuropathy in feet and lower legs-Sept 2002, no help; Neuropathy cont'd for fifteen years; Clue to neuropathy from past history and new found info of allergy to chromium, nickel and cobalt.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2015, 04:15 AM
drewrad drewrad is offline
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I paid roughly $600 for Orthopedic Analysis to test me preop.

Nickel, aluminum and chromium reactive.

So I went M6. Just titanium.
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Weightlifter since 12 years old, now mid-40's and figuring out this wasn't such a good idea.

Chronic back pain started in 2010 while shrugging weights that a 40 yr. old shouldn't even try.

MRI in 2012 showing L4/L5, L5/S1 herniations and L2/L3 bulge.

L5/S1 taking on new shape, chronic sciatica, etc.

DEXA bone scan performed 5/7/14 showing mild osteopenia.

Surgery performed July 9th, 2014, Dr Clavel, hybrid three level lumbar.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:47 AM
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Codger, that seems very common. Maddie is the only poster on this site I can recall whose doctor did not scoff at the idea that metal would be a problem. I suppose that metal problems are sufficiently rare that doctors are rarely willing to consider that they might be a problem; even when the symptoms point to it.
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C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
C5/6 - ACDF in 2002
C3/4 & C6/7 - M6 ADR, Nov 2009, Barcelona
Conceded defeat to a manifestly disingenuous BCBS-TX in my quest for reimbursement, Jan 2011
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2015, 10:23 PM
Old Codger Old Codger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewrad View Post
I paid roughly $600 for Orthopedic Analysis to test me preop.

Nickel, aluminum and chromium reactive.

So I went M6. Just titanium.
Drewrad, thank you very much for the remark!!!

I have been doing a lot of fast and furious reading. It sure seems that titanium is also capable of producing an allergic reaction. Orthopedic Analysis does a Panel that includes a reaction to titanium particles, and they do a Metal Ion test also that looks for titanium circulating in the body. There must be a reason for these tests. I think that this latter test is for one that already has the metal in their body. I have read somewhere that titanium does oxidize also, which makes the body's proteins link to those metal particles, which to my understanding sets off the allergic reaction. See for the basic process described at the following:
http://www.orthopedicanalysis.com/metal-allergy/Metal_Allergy.html

Check Panel 2 at http://www.orthopedicanalysis.com/metal-allergy/Which_test_to_order.html and,

Check here also http://www.orthopedicanalysis.com/metal-allergy/Order_and_need_a_kit.html

Please, if someone knows that titanium does not produce the same ozidizing/allergic process as the other metals, please direct me to that information. I have read that even gold and platinium produces an ozidized ion, just slower than most, and so can be allergic, also.

I remember being told that I have a titanium plate and screws in me. Mesh, too, holding the cadaver bone that was used in the disc space, but I doubt that can be taken out. My orthopedic surgeon has said to his assistant who gave me the message, that he doubts that my metal is the cause of my [neuropathy ?] problem. But he is willing to take out my metal from my neck.

Has anyone looked into which is the better testing, Orthopedic Analysis or MELISSA?

This site... http://www.melisa.org/research-articles/melisa-and-ltt/ makes the following statement:
"The MELISA test was validated on 250 patients in 2003 and found to be reproducible, sensitive, specific and reliable for detecting metal sensitivity. To our knowledge, no other LTT except the widely published Beryllium-LTT, has been validated."

This PUBMED article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17261998 has an interesting comment...
"CONCLUSION: The optimized LTT-MELISA test is a clinically useful and reliable tool for identifying and monitoring metal sensitization in symptomatic metal-exposed individuals."

Anyone really knowledgeable as to which test is the better, or, are they equal?

Thanks for sharing info!!!

And Drewrad, I do thank you for joining in the conversation! You did cause me to think more about titanium, and I may need that information with my orthopedic surgeon to explain the process... particularly if I have the metal taken out and my neuropathy dissipates as my original incident did some thirty years ago.

Wishing all wellnes!

Old Codger
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79 year old, loves to be very active, but am hampered as time goes on. Partial Cervical Fusion in July 1999, C4&5, C5&6; 2 each-Surgicals for Spinal Stenosis to eliminate neuropathy in feet and lower legs-Sept 2002, no help; Neuropathy cont'd for fifteen years; Clue to neuropathy from past history and new found info of allergy to chromium, nickel and cobalt.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:58 PM
annapurna annapurna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Codger View Post
Please, if someone knows that titanium does not produce the same ozidizing/allergic process as the other metals, please direct me to that information. I have read that even gold and platinium produces an ozidized ion, just slower than most, and so can be allergic, also.
Titanium is actually more chemically reactive than chromium and nickel. I can't talk about the allergenic reaction(s) being a metallurgist, not a doctor. Platinum and gold, under most circumstances, aren't reactive and will not form ions. I don't know enough about how the chemical environment inside your body would change that but, in general, those two are only oxidized in environments that would kill you before the metal was attacked.

It doesn't matter, though, if the metallic surfaces are oxides or unoxidized metal; if you're allergic to the metal or one of the components of the alloy, you'll react. The worst case for this, of course, would be if your body metabolized the ions or carried wear particles away from the surgery site. If that happens, your allergic reaction would become increasingly widespread and not localized to the implant. Even if you got the implant replaced, you'd still have lots of stuff floating around to deal with. Fortunately, the alloys used don't do this a whole lot but there's increasing suggestion that even small amounts can cause problems.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:44 PM
Old Codger Old Codger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annapurna View Post
Titanium is actually more chemically reactive than chromium and nickel. I can't talk about the allergenic reaction(s) being a metallurgist, not a doctor.

The worst case for this, of course, would be if your body metabolized the ions or carried wear particles away from the surgery site.
Thank you, Anna (if that is your true name ), for your comments!!!

I would think that being a metallurgist, you might know more about metals than most doctors, about how metals react, which is what an allergy is all about... reacting with other elements or molecules... just within our bodies... forming, in effect, another alloy.

Your third sentence above, explains, to me, why Orthopedic Analysis lab does "particle" testing. Maybe, MELISSA lab does, also? I wondered about that type, "serum particle", of testing! IMHO, that type, "serum particle", of test needs to be done by anyone with metal in their bodies already, versus someone who is comtemplating having an implant.

I have, what was told to me, a titanium plate and screws, from my cervical fusion. My first indication of trouble from them, that I have learned more recently, was a lack of energy. However, by that time, I had been bitten by a tick and had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, also a producer of lack of energy. So, a soup of symptoms was started for me. Once, I was rid of the bacteria, confirmed by a certain test, that lack of energy continued for me. Also, some other symptoms continued, which is what made me continue my quest for the Holy Grill, of a "cure". After some twelve years, a feeling of being "poisoned" in my whole body, came over me, slowly and increased in intensity since. That feeling was and is hard to describe in any other word. I just knew that what I was a feeling was not how I felt when younger. That feeling continues today. Maybe, it is that "poison"... foreign particles to a body... that creates /causes the eczema/itching reaction that is a readily, and acceptable, visible indication that a "poison" may exist within the body, that might be also attacking nerves, to cause my neuropathy.

Off now to find any other labs that might do a metal LTT or MELISSA test. Does anyone know if those tests, metal LTT and MELISSA, are one and the same type of test.... or, how they vary from each other, or any other such type test.

I would love to hear from anybody else that has any verifiable, or professional, evidence that might shed some light on this matter of allergy to metals.

Thanks, Anna, again!

Wishing all wellness!

Old Codger
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79 year old, loves to be very active, but am hampered as time goes on. Partial Cervical Fusion in July 1999, C4&5, C5&6; 2 each-Surgicals for Spinal Stenosis to eliminate neuropathy in feet and lower legs-Sept 2002, no help; Neuropathy cont'd for fifteen years; Clue to neuropathy from past history and new found info of allergy to chromium, nickel and cobalt.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:58 AM
Old Codger Old Codger is offline
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I have found only three labs that do metal-LTT testing, as follows:

Orthopedic Analysis, in Chicago

MELISSA, seems to be east coast based, with a number of licensed labs, scattered around.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

I have not been able to determine if the metal-LTT and the MELISSA test aaaare one and the same. It appears to me that the metal-LTT is an off-shoot of the MELISSA test, and sufficiently different... and may be an improved test. But that is not legal fact.

I am going to have my testing done by Orthopedic Analysis in Chicago... a Panel 2 for looking for any reactive (allergy) to a number of metals by the lymphocyte method, and a Metal ION Test to look for the metal particles that may be floating around my system.
Wishing All Wellness!!!
Old Codger
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79 year old, loves to be very active, but am hampered as time goes on. Partial Cervical Fusion in July 1999, C4&5, C5&6; 2 each-Surgicals for Spinal Stenosis to eliminate neuropathy in feet and lower legs-Sept 2002, no help; Neuropathy cont'd for fifteen years; Clue to neuropathy from past history and new found info of allergy to chromium, nickel and cobalt.
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