Replacement metal hips may cause problems according to UK agency

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James Heilman MD
Metal on metal replacement hip

THE Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a British government organisation has updated guidance for healthcare professionals regarding metal on metal hip replacements.

It was known that this particular type of replacement whilst very efficient, could cause long-terms soft-tissue reactions and these new guidelines encourage regular monitoring including x-rays and blood tests of patients who have undergone this type of replacement.

Dr Neil McGuire MHRA’s Clinical Director of Medical Devices said:

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“We have updated the current advice to ensure patients with metal on metal hip implants continue to receive appropriate follow up to detect emerging complications should they arise.

“Hip implants have positively transformed the lives of many patients who in the past were subject to increasingly severe pain and progressive disability. These use a variety of metal, plastic and ceramic components.

“Although the majority of patients with these metal on metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant. The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary.

“If you have any questions about your hip replacement, speak with your GP or implanting surgeon.”

Although there is no firm figure of those who might have received such implants, it is estimated that there may be more than 50,000 who have metal on metal hip joints  although many are already monitored on a regular basis and countless more are unlikely to encounter any problems.

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