Pretty Much All Hip Implants Raise Metal Blood Levels…

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metal blood levels

The news just never seems to get better for problems with hip replacements. There has been considerable concern of late about the fact that hip implants raise metal blood levels.  In the meantime the Orthopedic device industry has scrambled to address that situation, however, each new device iteration seems to come with its own issues. Now, new research indicates that even the newer hip implants raise metal blood levels.

In 2012 , Stryker, the major manufacturer of the Titanium Modular Neck system devices was forced to put out a major recall, not only for increased blood metal ions, but because shards of metal had also been found in patients with these devices. Styker is facing many lawsuits from patients who have experienced everything from ongoing tissue inflammation at the site of the device, to early device failure, to bone death. Importantly, Stryker is only one of several hip replacement device manufacturers who have faced major device recalls in the last several years.

A new study set out to evaluate the blood serum levels of Chromium, Cobalt, and Titanium within the first 2 years following hip replacement with the Titanium Modular Neck system total hip replacement device. To do this 25 patients randomly received a metal on metal device (MoM) which is the type with the known metal wear issue, and 25 patients received a Titanium modular neck system which is a metal on polyethylene device with a Titanium shell (MoP), the new type intended to reduce wear particles.  The results were concerning. The MoM and MoP devices caused similar increases in Titanium, Cobalt and Chromium by the end of the first year. However, the MoM device had slightly lower levels of Titanium by the end of the second year. So, the device designed to replace the original Metal on Metal hip replacement implant raised metal blood levels more than what it was supposed to replace!

The upshot?  By trying to fix the problem of wear particles and increases in toxic metal ions in the blood of hip replacement patients engineers seem to have made it worse!  The bottom line is there is no safe hip replacement option right now, which should concern anyone considering having this invasive surgery.

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4 thoughts on “Pretty Much All Hip Implants Raise Metal Blood Levels…

  1. Russ Delaney

    Let’s say a person has already got a hip replacement, or will have to get one because they are not a good candidate for any of the available regenerative treatments that you provide, is there anything they can do post-surgically to reduce the burden of these metal fragments to their bodys and immune system? For example intravenous chelation treaments or some oral chelating agents.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Russ,

      It depends on the type of prosthesis or implant used. Cobalt cannot be chelated…

  2. Billie

    I really like your site but I have a question: my sister is having a hip replacement. What is her best choice: titanium or cobalt?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Billie,
      Metal allergy testing before that decision is important. It’s also important to make sure that the chosen Hip replacement is waiting at the time of surgery in the correct size. Unfortunately, both Cobalt and Titanium have serious issues. Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/hip-replacement-complications/

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