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Patients with metal hip implants at risk of poisoning

Published on 30/01/2012

Metal hip implants in more than 30,000 patients are being investigated amid fears that they could be poisoning them.

In 2010, two hip implants made by company DePuy were withdrawn under concerns about their safety. But experts say that not enough patients are aware of the dangers of metal on metal implants.

Medical regulators are considering new evidence about metal on metal implants disintegrating, when friction between components causes tiny fragments to break off.

These fragments are leaked into the bloodstream, becoming toxic to the kidneys and inflaming tissue around the bone, destroying muscle.

Hip replacements should offer a patient a 95 per cent chance of pain-free mobility for ten to 15 years.

However, surgeons say that metal on metal implants have a failure rate of nearly 50 per cent after just 6 years.

All patients with these products are advised to see a doctor to check levels of cobalt and chromium in their blood and whether they have any muscle damage.

However, the British Orthopaedic Association suggested in a letter to surgeons that only 41 per cent had applied to be reimbursed for their treatment by DePuy.

Tony Nargol, an orthopaedic surgeon at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, said: “If some patients haven’t been told, that is appalling.

“We have been saying to the world that these implants are wearing out and there could be problems ahead, but we need to ensure the public gets the message.”

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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Medical
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