The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) recently announced that patients who had undergone large head metal on metal hip implants are going to need monitoring, on an annual basis, for life.
Such implants, provided by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, have a high failure rate and the rubbing together of the metal surfaces (cobalt and chromium) can cause metal flakes to break off and enter the body and blood stream causing tissue damage and other complications such as inflammation, destruction of muscle and bone, tumours and general pain and discomfort.
Further studies have shown that there maybe a link between the implants and the onset of various forms of cancer. The toxicity may be passed onto an unborn child in pregnant women.
The problems can arise in both those who had a full implant and those who underwent resurfacing work.
The MHRA have advised that there could be up to 50,000 high risk patients in the the country and that they should have regular blood tests to check for metal ions and MRI scans to see if they have raised metal levels. Previously the MHRA had suggested that there be a single five year post-oerative review however and in light of the issues concerning the deterioration of the fitting, this has been increased to an annual inspection and MRI scan and ultrasounds.
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