June 26, 2012

MHRA updates its advice on metal-on-metal hip replacements

The Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has this week updated the advice it has given to doctors and hospitals relating to the on-going care of patients fitted with metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Amid growing fears over the safety of all metal-on-metal hip replacements the MHRA has extended the period over which patients with metal-on-metal hips should be monitored by their local hospital, particularly in cases where the patient is showing common symptoms of a faulty hip replacement.

Now, patients with smaller headed metal hip replacements are perceived to be at a greater risk than previously thought and the MHRA is recommending patients with these hip units, who are displaying adverse symptoms, should be routinely followed-up for the life of the implant. Originally the MHRA had advised follow-ups be carried out on the patient for a period of just five years. The advised follow-up period has also been increased from five years for those patients with metal-on-metal hip resurfacing joints.

Patients with these units should expect to receive at least annual check-ups on their hip joint. Where adverse symptoms become apparent further tests such as blood tests and MRI or ultrasound scans are likely to be carried out by medical staff to identify whether there are any common signs of the metal hip failing, such as unusually high levels of Cobalt and Chromium in the bloodstream.

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