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Metal-on-metal hip replacements beginning to fail far sooner than expected

Posted Mar 18 2010 8:39am 1 Comment

Milan, IL: A new issue emerging around artificial hip replacements is of interest to any patient who has received a metal-on-metal device. A recent editorial in the Journal of Arthroplasty, a noted medical journal for orthopedic surgeons, has urged doctors to use metal-on-metal devices only with “great caution, if at all.”

The metal-on-metal devices are used in about one third of all hip replacement surgeries in the US each year, totaling a quarter million annually. The New York Times reports that some of America’s leading orthopedic surgeons have stopped or significantly reduced their use of the devices to reports of severe tissue and bone damage in some patients.

What’s more, metal-on-metal devices are beginning to fail far sooner than expected. Despite an expected life span of 15 years or more, some have required replacement surgery within a year or two.

Metal-on-metal are ball-and-socket devices fashioned from metals like cobalt and chromium. It was believed that the devices would be much more durable than previous implants. However, studies have found that when the devices break down prematurely, they sometimes generate metallic debris that absorbs into the body. The resulting inflammation can trigger pain, death of tissue in the hip joint and the loss of surrounding bone. The cause and scope of the issue remain unclear, but doctors have noted that replacement surgeries for metal-on-metal devices can be complex and that the absorption of metal debris into tissue or bloodstream can leave patients with lasting complications.


Comments (1)
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I am a 51 yr old female in good health. I had a metal on metal hip replacement in May og 2010. I progressed well the first 2 months or so but started having pain aloing the side of my hip  lower left back and now my inner thigh . My surgeon has treated me for Bursitis and referred me to another dr he seems to think My l-4 and l-5 disk may be causing pain in my back. My front thigh has startyed giving me pain almost as if a stabbing pain in the bone. I suffered Ostioarthritis and finally agreed to hip replacement when all other treatments did not help. I was almost to the point I could barlewy wal before surgery. I now fear I will always be in pain and handicapped. I have all but given up my lifestyle previous to all of this. Is there anyone out there that has any suggestions or has suffered this and then got better? I have had steoroid shots in hip and back with no results.
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