Knee Replacement Allergy: Allergic to the Cement after 4 Surgeries on the Same Knee
Can you have a knee replacement allergy? Awhile back I blogged on knee placement and the studies showing that a good number of patients are allergic to various components of the prosthesis. A few weeks ago there was the “bald and itchy” patient who had lost her hair due to a metal allergy from a knee replacement. This week I followed up on yet another patient with severe knee pain and swelling after a knee replacement. Whenever I see this now my first thought is to rule out a knee replacement allergy. In this case, this poor woman had 2 surgeries due to wrong size prostheses and loosening of the device, a third surgery to break up all the scarring, and a fourth for another new prosthesis (not under my watch). I sent her out to National Jewish for allergy testing where they did an extensive analysis of not only the metals in her knee replacement device, but also the components of the cement used. Turns out she’s very allergic to one of the cement components, hence the loosing of the prostheses (her body was attacking the cement). This certainly explains her now chronically red and painful knee replacement site. While I have been able to get rid of her back, hip, and thigh pain with the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure (they were talking about replacing her hip), she will likely forever have the knee issue until she decides to pull the trigger on a 5th surgery. She’s understandably not up for knee replacement surgery number 5, who could blame her? The upshot? If you’re an allergic person, do not get a joint replaced until you have been allergy tested for all of the device and cement components!