Medical regulators have begun to investigate the safety of hip implants amid fears that they may be poisoning the patients who have received them. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) claimed that it had taken swift action over the concerns raised, but stressed that the majority of patients with the devices were at a “low risk” of experiencing serious problems. The action follows an investigation that found that in excess of 30,000 British patients had received metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants that may be more dangerous than experts first thought.
Problems occur with MoM devices when friction is generated between the device’s metal ball and cup. This friction causes small metal filings to shed off and these filings can potentially enter into the bloodstream. These fragments can result in a soft tissue reaction, potentially destroying bone and muscle. There are also growing concerns over the implants’ ability to cause “systemic toxicity” within the body.
An MHRA spokesperson claimed that, drawing on the available evidence, the majority of individuals who have received MoM hip implants are at a low risk of experiencing serious problems. However, he added that the MHRA was continuing to monitor all evidence. In April 2010, the MHRA advised patients fitted with MoM devices to undergo yearly check-ups for five years after surgery. It also advised patients experiencing pain to undergo tests to determine their blood levels of cobalt and chromium and to undergo an MRI or ultrasound scan to look for soft tissue reactions.
Duncan Lewis’ personal injury solicitors can provide vital legal support to individuals suffering because of being fitted with MoM implants.