FDA Informs Public of the Risks of Certain Hip Replacement Devices

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The FDA warned today that certain metal on metal hip implants may be causing side effects or complications in hip replacement patients. The problem is caused when metal particles from the prosthesis are released into the blood stream as the hip device is worn down. I have blogged on the problem of high chromium levels in spinal fusion patients with metal implants and that at least one study showed higher rates of certain cancers in knee joint replacement patients. In this release, the FDA warned patients to receive blood tests for cobalt or chromium levels if they are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, nerve problems, visual or hearing issues, fatigue, weight gain, excessive feelings of cold, or urinary troubles. The FDA’s new information did not suggest otherwise, but it urged patients with such problems as pain in the groin, leg, or hip, swelling at the hip joint, or changes in gait to seek an evaluation. It also warned that metal implants are contraindicated for patients with known metal sensitivities, those patients with bad kidneys or compromised immune systems, women of childbearing age, and patients taking high dose steroids. The FDA also recommended that surgeons add these risks to their consent forms for patients considering hip replacement.

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