Metal from hip replacements could cause tumors
Metal hip replacements may cause soft tissue destruction and even tumors, the British health regulatory agency has warned.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently announced that it would test all 40,000 patients who had received metal hip implants for high levels of metal in their blood. This would indicate that the implants are wearing down and releasing debris into the body, with potentially dangerous consequences.
"Any patients who are affected by these recommendations will be contacted by their surgeon," the MHRA said, and will have their implants replaced.
The procedures in question are full metal-on-metal hip implants and hip resurfacing, which involves lining the hip socket and the top of the thigh bone with metal. In both procedures, friction can cause bits of metal to grind loose. This debris can cause soft tissue necrosis (death), which can develop into a small, non-cancerous tumor known as a pseudotumor.
Because they last longer than other kinds of implants, metal hip replacements are popular among younger patients.
The government warning came after a study conducted by researchers from the Nuffield Orthopedic Center in Oxford found that 4 percent of patients who had received a hip resurfacing operation needed a new operation due to pseudotumors. Women under the age of 40 were particularly at risk, with 13 percent requiring a new operation.
Concerns over metal implants had emerged before, with a 2008 MHRA report noting that there "was evidence of genetic damage in patients with certain metal hip implants." In addition, implant manufacturer DePuy recently issued a warning that its products had a "higher than expected" rate of failure and should not be used "in females of childbearing age."
DePuy has since announced that it will cease manufacturing the products in question, but insists it has no concerns over its products' safety.
"Data about safety were not the basis for this decision," it said.
Sources for this story include: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7603360/Metal-hip-replacements-could-cause-tumours-doctors-warn.html