More Hip Resurfacing Side Effects: A Third of Hip Resurfacing Patients Have a Local Reaction to their Implant!

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Are there hip resurfacing side effects? Hip resurfacing involves taking a metal piece and placing it on the end of the femur and then also replacing the socket of the hip joint. This configuration was initially thought to be much better than amputating the entire hip joint including the femur and replacing it in a traditional hip replacement surgery. That was until hip resurfacing problems began to surface.

Not only have high blood levels of metal ions been a problem, but local tissue reactions from the metal shavings as the metal rubs on the metal have been reported. Some of these involve what are called pseudo-tumors, but these were thought to be rare. Now a new study shows that of 114 patients with a hip resurfacing surgery, 31% had local tissue reaction lesions despite having no symptoms. The authors state, “A 31% incidence of periarticular fluid collections in asymptomatic patients with modular MOM THAs is alarming and calls into question any algorithmic approach dependent on symptomatology. The presence of pain was insufficient to identify patients at risk for ALTRs.” This means that using pain as a guide to determine which hip resurfacing patients had a tissue reaction to their device doesn’t work, as about a third of patients with no pain had these reactions. Do you want to get a sense of why these reactions occur? Take a look at the picture above. The dark stuff around the shiny metal implant represents the metal that has worn off of the metal on metal implant and that causes these tissue reactions. If it looks nasty, is it any wonder the body reacts to this gunk?

The upshot? If you’ve had a hip resurfacing and don’t have any problems or pain, you may want to get a special MRI (as they did in this study) to confirm that you don’t have a tissue reaction as it’s believed these reactions can lead to possible tissue and bone damage.


Learn about Regenexx procedures for hip conditions.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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