There has been much in the media recently regarding the growing concerns in the safety of metal on metal hip replacements, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are launching an investigation into the safety of these implants.
Lucy Small – a clinical negligence solicitor with Hereford law firm Lanyon Bowdler comments: “These types of prosthesis became commonplace from the mid 1990’s, in preference to the traditional type of prosthesis which was a metal ball in a plastic socket. With the metal on metal hip replacement the metal femoral ball, which sits on the top of the leg, fits into the metal acetabular socket which is attached to the hip.
“Studies have shown an increase in failure rate of the metal on metal prosthesis and of more concern, to those having had these types of prosthesis fitted, is the evidence of a reaction to the build up of metal debris which arises from the wear and tear of the socket, together with a reaction to the metal itself.”
Lucy explains: “Problems occur when the friction between the metal ball and the cup causes tiny metal filings to break off and potentially seep into the blood. These metal filings can also cause a soft tissue reaction, which in turn can go on to affect muscle and bone.
”Patients with metal on metal prosthesis should be reviewed annually. Of particular concern were the De Puy models which were taken off the market in September 2010.
“All patients should have been told what type of prosthesis was used in their hip replacement procedure. Those with a De Puy prosthesis should have already been called back for checks however, anyone concerned as to whether they should be reviewed, and which type of prosthesis was used, should contact the hospital where the procedure was carried out.”