What Do You Know About Metal-on-metal Hip Implants?

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With the rise of new technology, innovations are being introduced which includes metal-on-metal (Metal-on-metal) implants Hip implants are considered as a pioneer in the medical device field which can greatly benefit those with severely injured hips especially those belonging to the upper age group. With hip deterioration, there is the continuous search for a hip device that can withstand the wear and tear overtime. The objective is to create these devices for long-term or lifetime use to save time, money and effort. However, errors cannot be avoided like the issues the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system is facing. The Food and Drug Administration even released a report on the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system.

What is a Metal-on-metal Hip Device?

Metal-on-metal Hip Device is among one of the 4 device options currently available in the US for total hip replacement. It consists of a ball, stem and shell and all are made out of metal. Titanium and Cobalt-chrome are two most commonly used metals in Metal-on-metal devices. There is no specific study showing which metal is better but cobalt-chrome has been used in orthopaedic prosthetics for 65 years without much report of allergies or rejections. In 2002, it was considered as a huge breakthrough when it was first introduced in America. Cobalt-chrome was the metal used in making the first Metal-on-metal device. Companies like DePuy purposely created their Metal-on-metal device with the youth and the active as a target population.

Advantages of a Metal-on-metal Hip Device

Metal-on-metal devices are considered the most durable and can last for a long time if given proper care. Metal-on-metal has several advantages such as:

  • Greater freedom of activity

  • Less chances of being dislocated

  • Less total material removed (compared to other devices) when there is friction between the ball and socket

  • Believed to last a relative longer period of time (at least 15 years) so a revision surgery or another hip replacement wont be necessary

Concerns on Metal-on-metal Devices

Though it has benefits, the cons were also raised regarding Metal-on-metal devices because some can do harm to the individual. One concern raised is the risk for metal toxicity resulting from the metal particles falling off from the device. Over time, metal particles can also cause injury to the bone and surrounding tissues which is referred to as ALTR or adverse local tissue reaction. This occurrence might lead to loose implants that can cause terrible pain and a revision surgery might be necessary. Such reports were made by individuals who filed a DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit.

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