Cutter Law P.C.

Hip implants are an innovative solution for many Californians who suffer from mobility limitations, persistent physical pain and compromised function resulting from degenerative hips. Depending on the type and severity of the surgery, different materials are used including ceramics, metal and plastic.

CBC News shared research where metal-on-metal hip implants were studied for the harmful side-effects they were having on patients. Because both artificial joints, the ball and socket, are made from metal, consistent grinding can sometimes result in small particles shaving away. However, these seemingly harmless particles can cause problems when they make their way into a person's bloodstream. Because studies have shown that metal-on-metal implants are more likely to fail, they are being used less and less compared to other options. The results are as follows:

  • Ceramic-on-plastic: 5 percent
  • Ceramic-on-ceramic: 8 percent
  • Metal-on-metal: 9 percent
  • Metal-on-plastic: 73 percent

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages patients who have received a metal-on-metal hip implant to look for signs of worsening health following their surgery. They remind patients that often, symptoms are outside of the hip and include the following:

  • Renal function loss
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Depression or changes in psychological wellness
  • Hypersensitivity reaction
  • Sensory impairments or neurological changes

If patients recognize differences in their health following an implant surgery, they should immediately contact their orthopedic surgeon for further analysis. Testing will follow to diagnose problems and determine viable solutions. Some of the tests may include:

  • Soft tissue imaging
  • Blood tests
  • Joint aspiration

The FDA recommends that metal-on-metal hip implant recipients proactively follow up with their orthopedic surgeon every one to two years. These appointments are critical to verify that the hip replacement is functioning as it should, and that there are no signs of deterioration or compromised health.

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