56,000 at risk from metal-on-metal hip replacements

A new report issued by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has shown that up to 56,000 patients could be at risk of complications arising from toxic chemicals leaking into the blood after having metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Healthcare professionals have been told that these patients must have x-rays and blood tests to check that the hip replacements have not leaked metal particles into the tissues and bones around them. Patients will need to have annual reviews for the rest of their lives to check these levels and ensure that the implants are not causing toxic build up in the body. Possible complications include progressive soft tissue reactions and eventual failure of the hip replacement.

Concerns around metal-on-metal hip replacements initially came to light in 2012, but it was believed that only a small group of patients was at risk. The call for expanded checks comes after it was found that complications can arise even in 'low risk' patients who are not currently showing signs of hip pain or swelling.

It is thought that women may be at an increased risk as the smaller devices used are at higher risk of metal leakage. Also, the devices were often used in younger patients to minimise the need to replace them.

If you are not sure whether you have a metal-on-metal hip replacement, the advice is to contact your GP and ask for their assistance.

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances.