The risk from metal-on-metal hip replacement systems is greater than previously thought, with even greater failure rates, U.K. health regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reported.
Artificial hips are traditionally made with ceramic or plastic parts, but over the past decade medical device manufacturers began making hip implants with all metal parts. The idea was that the new design would make the hips more durable over time. Traditional hip implants can last 20 years or more before they need replacing.
However, shortly after the metal-on-metal hips hit markets around the world, reports of premature failures began pouring in to health agencies.
The problem causing the all-metal hips to fail stems from the materials used. As the metal parts of the device rubbed together, bits of metal would fall into the joint space. Or, the metal would begin to corrode. This may inflame the tissue and allow metal ions to enter the bloodstream. This blood poisoning with chromium and cobalt became known as metallosis.
Doctors are not fully aware of the potential dangers of metallosis. Some patients have complained of headaches, fatigue and memory problems. Some studies suggest that metallosis can damage DNA, which could lead to more serious health problems, such as cancer.
The MHRA’s recent warning included a request to surgeons to tell all patients who have received metal-on-metal hips, especially the DePuy ASR hip replacement system that was recalled in 2010, to schedule them for annual follow-up visits. If the patient experiences pain, the surgeons should considering measuring the level of metals in his blood and the soft tissue should be examined to see if reactions have occurred. If necessary, removal and replacement of the implant should be considered.
Source: Tyrone Times