13/03/2012

Calls For Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants To Be Banned

Calls are being made to ban controversial metal-on-metal hip implants after experts found “unequivocal evidence” of high failure rates.

Data gathered on 400,000 hip replacements found metal-on-metal implants needed revising more often than other types, and that failure rates of the implant were higher in women.

The call come two weeks after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new guidance on the implants, saying almost 50,000 patients will need annual blood or MRI checks.

Tiny metal ions made up of cobalt and chromium are thought to break off from the implants and leak into the blood, with fears this causes muscle and bone damage as well as neurological issues.

The MHRA says there is a "small risk" the implants can cause complications in patients.

Research published in the Lancet found that metal-on-metal implants failed much more quickly than other types, with a five-year revision rate of 6.2%.

This compares to 2,3% for ceramic-on-ceramic and 1.7% for plastic-on-plastic.

The research showed that failure was related to the head size of the implant, with larger heads failing quicker.

The analysis included more than 31,000 metal-on-metal implants. It looked at patients given implants between 2003 and 2011 and tracked for up to seven years after surgery.

The results showed stark differences between the implants depending on type and head size, and confirm previous findings on failure rates.

The reported concluded: "Metal-on-metal stemmed articulations give poor implant survival compared with other options and should not be implanted.


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