Metal Hip Replacements Could Cause Chronic Pain, Should Be Avoided

A panel of the U.S. government stated on Thursday that most patients should avoid receiving metal hip transplants.

The panel, convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, put forward the recommendation only a couple of month after new research suggested that the metal parts could be linked to higher failure rates.

According to the research, hip replacement surgery is a common operation. However, researchers have pointed out that not all replacements are as effective as others.

The most common complication with hip replacement devices occurs when the device becomes loose, and other complications include wear and dislocation.

To originally absolve the complications of loosening, doctor attempted to employ metal-on-metal bearings in the past. The practice eventually became popular. Metal-on-metal Bearings had poor implant survival compared with other options, according to one study which was funded by the National Joint Registry and published in March.

The study went on to recommend that doctors discontinue the use of metal-on-metal replacements. Six percent of people with metal hip replacements required a later surgery to repair or replace the implant verses the 1.7 to 2.3 percent who received plastic or ceramic implants.

In the most recent decision to avoid the usage of metal hip replacements, concerns have also been raised about shedding parts of metal that are likely to fall into the surrounding joint and blood stream.

The new recommendation also suggested that patients who are suffering from pain or other symptoms should be evaluated with an x-ray and blood test for levels of metal. Experts are concerned that loose shards of metal could cause chronic pain in some patients.

"I wouldn't be surprised if this was just the beginning of the storm," said Art Sedrakyan, an associate professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who authored an accompanying commentary in Lancet told NCT in March. "A lot of products have been allowed onto the market without clinical evidence they work."