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Detecting Metallosis After a Hip Replacement

When a patient receives a metal on metal (MoM) hip implant, there are many risks and side effects they may not be aware of. Among these complications is an adverse reaction to metal debris—sometimes called metallosis. This condition can make hip implant revision surgery necessary, so detecting it early is critical for patients. A study published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery may have found a way to improve these detection procedures.

Is Earlier Detection of Metallosis Possible?

To evaluate if a patient is at risk of having an adverse reaction to metal debris, doctors measure levels of chromium and cobalt ions in the blood. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have cutoff points for this testing. However, researchers believe that implant-specific cutoffs could produce better results.

Using an external validation method, researchers in this study examined 710 patients who underwent MoM hip implant surgery. They compared current U.S. and U.K. fixed regulations versus the implant-specific method and made an interesting discovery. The implant-specific method identified all but 2.8 percent of adverse reactions to heavy metals in study participants. Regulatory cutoff points missed up to 6.5 percent of reactions.

Only two MoM hip implant brands were tested in this study, meaning that more analysis is needed before brand-specific cutoffs can be established. Follow-up imaging can be important if your MoM implant has caused problems.

If you have more questions about defective hip implants and your legal options, contact an attorney at Kershaw, Cook & Talley, P.C.  We can help you determine if you can recover compensation for a hip implant that harmed you or a loved one.

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