On May 9, 2012, Health Canada issued an announcement regarding a recent letter disseminated by the agency to Canadian orthopedic surgeons. Health Canada is the federal department that is responsible for overseeing public health in the country. In the letter, Health Canada advises orthopedic surgeons of the possible risks posed by metal-on-metal total hip devices. The letter also provides these health care professionals with recommendations on how to help metal-on-metal hip patients manage their health after implantation of these types of devices.
Metal-on-metal hip devices are used in two types of implantation surgeries: total hip replacement and hip resurfacing. Adverse reactions to metal-on metal hip devices in some patients, such as implant loosening, pain, and adverse tissue reactions, have increased awareness of the health risks posed by these types of implants. Depending on the severity of the patient’s adverse reactions, a revision surgery may be needed to remove the defective implant.
Health Canada advises that adverse reactions to metal-on-metal hip devices may be caused by the wearing of the device through every day activities, such as walking. Due to this wear, metal particles and ions can enter the body and cause adverse reactions in the patient. Symptoms of these adverse reactions may include swelling of the hip, pain in the area around the implant, and changes in the patient’s walking ability. According to Health Canada, the possibility of developing these adverse reactions increases if the patient is female, has bilateral implants, is very active, and/or is significantly overweight.
The letter advises that patients who experience symptoms such as the ones mentioned above should schedule a consultation with their orthopedic surgeons.
See the full announcement from Health Canada at:
See the April 11, 2012 letter from Health Canada sent to orthopedic surgeons regarding metal-on-metal hip implants: