UK Medical Regulators Warn of “Toxic” Hip Replacement Devices

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), United Kingdom’s medical regulator, is warning doctors and patients about the “toxic” dangers of the DePuy ASR hip replacement implant and other metal-on-metal hip implants.

MHRA issued a recall of the DePuy device in 2010, instructing surgeons not to use the DePuy ASR in hip replacement surgeries and to return unused devices to the manufacturer, the Tyrone Times reported. The DePuy ASR is a metal-on-metal implant and, as NewsInferno has previously written, as the device wears down, metal ions can be released into the blood and into the soft tissue surrounding the implant, resulting in an array of adverse effects. People with metal-on-metal hip implants have experienced pain, inflammation, bone loss, lower limb swelling, cyst formation, and metal poisoning.  Many patients have had to undergo additional surgery to remove and replace the implant—so-called “revision surgery.” Those who are still implanted with metal-on-metal hip replacement devices now require monitoring of the device itself and metal levels in their blood.

Adverse effects with the metal-on-metal hip implants have long been reported, but the British Sunday Telegraph has brought the issue to public attention once again because recent developments suggest that the failure rate and the dangers of the devices are greater than previously thought. The Telegraph reports that MHRA will issue a new alert about all types of metal-on-metal hip implants. While hip replacements typically last between 20 and 30 years, the metal-on-metal devices are showing a high early failure rate, with about 49 percent of DePuy devices needing to be replaced by six years and 12 to 15 percent of other metal-on-metal implants needing replacement by five years.