Hip Implants Can Cause Tissue Damage According to FDA

First Posted: Jan 18, 2013 01:41 PM EST

Metal-on-metal hip implants can cause some serious issues, according to the FDA. The U.S. health regulator found that they can cause soft-tissue damage, pain, changing in position of a component of the implant, allergy, and dislocation-all of which could lead to further surgery to replace the implant.

Already, several recalls of artificial hip parts have taken place. Johnson & Johnson, the biggest manufacturer of all-metal implants, recalled its ASR implant in 2010 after complications occurred. In addition, Smith & Nephew, another manufacturer, recalled components of one of its all-metal hip implants last June. Stryker Corp began recalling some of its components in July.

Although all-metal hip implants were first developed to be more durable than traditional implants, they have become a major cause of concern in recent years. Traditional implants usually combine a ceramic or metal ball with a plastic sock, while all-metal implants use metal on metal.

What is more worrisome is that these all-metal implants can shed metal when the two components connect, according to the FDA. This can cause wear on the implant, and can cause damage to the tissue surrounding it. Some of these metal-on-metal implants have also been known to corrode, leading to further surgery and exposing patients to higher levels of cobalt, chromium, and other metals. The FDA suggests that surgeons should only select a metal-on-metal hip implant for their patients after making sure that the benefits of the implant outweigh those of an alternative implant. In addition, the organization recommended that patients showing symptoms should receive metal ion tests.

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