Metal on metal hips – an update

The oversight of the development and introduction of new medical devices, and the evidence needed to start using them is much inferior to the evidence demanded for new drugs. This needs to change and the Metal on Metal story illustrates this well. The litigation alone is going to cost the earth…

Image result for hip replacement cartoon

Chris Smyth reports 30th June in the Times: Metal hip replacement patients recalled for tests

Tens of thousands more patients with defective hip replacements will be called in for regular checks after it emerged that even those with no symptoms could be at risk.

All patients with metal-on-metal hips should have scans and blood tests to spot emerging problems, regulators said yesterday.

Surgeons say that by the time symptoms emerge it is sometimes impossible to replace damaged joints properly. They want to monitor hips for longer so that they can be replaced more easily, as further evidence shows that implants can fail more than a decade after they were put in.

Metal-on-metal hips were often used in younger patients as it was thought that they would last longer than plastic or ceramic implants. However, problems surfaced a decade ago when it became clear that the hips wore faster, shedding tiny metal particles into the joint. This can cause damage to bone and surrounding tissue, causing painful symptoms and irreversible harm in some cases.

Metal-on-metal hips are no longer implanted and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency last issued guidance five years ago, saying people with the implants should see a doctor if they had pain, swelling near the joint or problems walking. People with some makes of hip were advised to have more regular surveillance.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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