In spite of assurances from regulators, specialist surgeons belive all-metal hip replacements should no longer be used. Metallic debris can be produced from the friction during use causing serious side effects. Despite disagreement from the British Hip Societcy, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) claims the joint implants can still be used. Joints smaller than 36mm and hip resurfacing are not affected.
The MHRA said patients who already have received large head metal-on-metal hip replacements need annual blood tests for life, to check for metallic debris, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The British Hip Society believes there is not enough evidence to show any benefits outweigh the risks of such joint implants.
Dr Susanne Ludgate, clinical director of the MHRA, said: “We recognise that there is emerging evidence of increased revision rates associated with large head metal-on-metal hip replacements. But the clinical evidence is mixed and this does not support their removal from the market. Metal-on-metal resurfacing hip implants enable young patients to lead pain-free, independent lives. The percentage of patients implanted with these large head metal-on-metal hip implants dropped to 2% in 2010 and is continuing to decrease. There are alternative hip replacements available that are proven to produce good clinical outcomes for patients. The MHRA, in combination with our expert advisory group, is continuing to monitor closely all the latest evidence about these devices. We will take quick action if we need to and, if patients have any questions, they should speak to their orthopaedic surgeon or doctor.”