I still see patients signing up to get metal on metal hip replacement or minimally invasive hip surgery. This is despite many studies now showing severe complications with this concept. Now a new study shows scary high rates of psuedotumor formation in these Birmingham hips.
The concept of a minimally invasive hip or a smaller hip replacement surgery began around 10 years ago with much fanfare. It wasn’t long before the Internet was buzzing with patients discussing that this less invasive surgery could reduce downtime and speed recovery-at least until it all went horribly wrong. In order to allow the smaller hip replacement components to survive the same forces, the parts were manufactured so that metal on one side would touch metal on the other. The obvious consequence of when metal rubs against metal millions of times is metal shavings, which then filled what was left of these joints causing high metal ions in the blood serum as well as black soot like metal particles. The later would cause strange tissue reactions, sometimes creating what looked like a tumor (psuedotumor). These things could press on the nerves, arteries, and veins near the hip joint, causing real problems.
So how common are these pseudotumors? A new study sought to find out. Over a three year period, the authors looked at 706 hips in 626 patients who had received larger metal on metal minimally invasive hip devices. They found 228 pseudotumors of about 1 inch or bigger in size! That’s a startling 1/3 of the patients! Pain after the hip replacement was the strongest predictor of a golfball sized or bigger mass due to the metal on metal hip.
The upshot? Why patients are still signing up for these minimally invasive hip replacements I’ll never know. Hopefully this study that shows huge tumors forming due to the surgery will dissuade some from going this route!