Fear for Metal Poisoning Lead Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Patients to Undergo Annual Blood Tests

Hip replacements may be considered as one of the brilliant successes in modern medicine. It reduces pain and improves mobility for people with chronic hip pain and hip injuries. When successful, these hip implants may offer a patient with trouble-free movements for at least 15 years. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a safety warning over metal-on-metal (MoM) hip replacements, advising that operations should be followed by yearly check-ups, according to media reports. There is a number of hip replacement lawsuits recorded in Texas.

MoM hip implantation has recently come under wide scrutiny. When MoM hip implants fail, they produce metal particles of cobalt and chromium (ball and socket) due to the sliding against the two metal surfaces during walking, running and other extraneous activities. The Food and Drug Administration holds a two-day meeting starting Wednesday to scrutinize the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants, following years of patient reports of pain and swelling that sometimes requires removal of the devices.

The all-metal devices have been found to wear down at an accelerated rate in some patients, potentially causing damage and deterioration in the bone and tissue around the hip. There are also concerns that they could leak traces of metal into the bloodstream, which the annual medical checks will monitor.

The agency now says that patients fitted with this type of implant should be monitored annually for the life of the implant, and that they should also have tests to measure levels of metal particles (ions) in their blood. Patients with these implants who have symptoms should also have MRI or ultrasound scans, and patients without symptoms should have a scan if their blood levels of metal ions are rising. The previous guidance on this type of hip implant, issued in April 2010, advised that patients should be monitored annually for no fewer than five years.

All toxic and heavy metals are very damaging to the body causing chronic mental, physical and emotional symptoms. Often their effects are insidious and subtle taking a long time to develop and proving very hard to reverse. Lawsuits alleged one of the hip replacement company, Johnson & Johnson, maker of DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system, had known about the high failure rates and metal toxicity issues but had failed to warn patients about the potential side-effects and likelihood of having to undergo further surgery. The statistics on DePuy hip replacements offers more information in light with this topic.


  • guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/28/hip-replacement-joints-scare-metal
  • fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm
  • npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/12/148473750/metal-hips-prone-to-early-failure
  • telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9110919/Annual-blood-tests-for-hip-patients-over-poison-fears.html

Topic : Health Care Jobs
Genre : Mental/Health

Hip Replacement Patients Report Increase of Hip Implant Loosening

hip.jpgOver the past decade surgeons have learned newer versions of hip implants, made with a metal ball that fits into a metal socket, such as the DePuy Pinnacle, have been failing at a higher rate than traditional hip implants made of ceramic or plastic parts, medical industry publications report. Typically, most hip implants fracture, loosen, or dislocate over a decade or two due to wear and tear. Recently however, there have been reported cases of these metal on metal hip replacement systems failing after five years or less.

While there are several problems associated with these artificial hip implants, the most painful one among the side effects involves a loosening of the hip implant, something that has been repeatedly documented through consumer complaints and FDA reports. Loosening of the hip replacement can actually happen over time, and usually causes problems with the normal function of the hip replacement. The most common ways the hip replacement is placed in the body is either press-fit into the bone, or cemented into position.Each option is done to make the implant fight firmly into the femur bone and pelvis so that that implant will not move. If ever the implant will become loose, the hip replacement can potentially move as well.If this happens the patient usually begin to feel pain.

Unfortunately for those whose hip replacements have become loose, one of the only steps to correct is hip replacement revision surgery. However, with revision operations patients almost always recover less overall motion of the joint. Also, the longevity of implant decreases with each revision. Therefore, physicians tend to avoid joint replacement surgery until absolutely necessary, and try to get as much mileage out of each replacement as possible.

Increasing complaints about metal-on-metal hip implants loosening prematurely has ultimately led the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 to order 21 manufacturers to conduct studies on patients who have received the implants. Among these 21 manufacturers is DePuy and its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system. The results of these tests will determine what kind of actions the FDA will take on metal-on-metal hip replacements.
URL References:
  • orthopedics.about.com/cs/hipreplacement/a/implantissues_2.htm
  • arthritis.about.com/cs/hip/a/hiploosen.htm

Carole S.

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