Annual checks for patients with all-metal hips

On February 28, 2012, BBC News published an article regarding the growing concern surrounding metal-on-metal hip implants, particularly those with large diameter heads (36 mm or higher). Evidence against all-metal hip implants indicates that these types of devices have a higher failure rate when compared to hip implants made from other materials, such as ceramic or plastic. The higher failure rate of metal-on-metal hip implants is often the result of the constant wear of these devices, which causes metal ion particles to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing tissue damage.

In light of this evidence, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK recently released an updated medical device alert advising patients with large head all-metal hips to see their surgeons for annual monitoring of their devices for the rest of their lives. According to the MHRA, this monitoring should include annual blood tests that analyze metal ion levels in the bloodstream. If the metal ion levels are rising in the patient, then the agency recommends doctors run an MRI scan to check for tissue damage.

The MHRA has also cited evidence indicating that all-metal hips exhibit a failure rate of roughly 12% after seven years of implantation. This failure rate is three times higher than the failure rates of ceramic hips or metal and plastic hips.

See the full BBC News article at:

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