Metal Hip Replacements Safety Concerns

Medical experts in the UK are calling for an end to all-metal hip replacements. Although health regulators say that they are safe many doctors and surgeons believe that the metal hips are causing complications as they wear down over time.

The BBC reported on its Newsnight program that doctors have been aware of possible problems for many years. In fact, British Medical Journal has also reported that problems have been known for decades but never investigated further.

The British Hip Society are raising awareness about metal hips. They are in direct disagreement with the opinion of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

British Hip Society opinion

  • The BHS advises that stemmed, large diameter metal-on-metal primary total hip replacements using bearings of 36 mm or above should no longer be performeduntil more evidence is available, except in properly conducted and ethically approved research studies.
  • This advice does not apply to hip resurfacing
  • The British Hip Society endorses the guidance issued by the MHRA on the 28th February 2012. Patients who already have metal on metal bearing implants should be followed up.
  • The British Hip Society will continue to monitor the latest research in this field and will provide further guidance once more information becomes available.
  • Source: www.britishhipsociety.com/MoM%20Update.htm

MHRA Statements

In a press release the MHRA stated that:


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  • Patients with a particular type of metal-on-metal hip replacement should be monitored annually for the life of the hip replacement
  • Patients with hip replacements with head diameter of 36 millimetres or more need to be monitored every year
  • Clinical evidence shows that patients have a small risk of suffering complications from having metal-on-metal hip implants.
  • Source: www.mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Pressreleases/CON143784

What is the Safest Hip Replacement?

According to Justin P Cobb, writing in the British Medical Journal online, “hip resurfacing, while also a metal on metal articulation, is the safest operation in terms of life expectancy, and provides the highest level of function“. He says that the chances of complications is very low when the procedure is carried out accurately.

Web resources on Metal Hip Replacements

How safe are metal-on-metal hip implants?” by Justin P Cobb, on www.bmj.com

BHS statements on Large Diameter Metal on Metal bearing Total Hip Replacements” – British Hip Society, 2012

Comparative assessment of implantable hip devices with different bearing surfaces: systematic appraisal of evidence” by Stephen, S Tower, on www.bmj.com

Press release: MHRA updates advice for metal-on-metal hip replacements”  Tuesday 28 February 2012

Surgeons call for end to metal hip replacements” by Michelle Roberts, BBC News.


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Total Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery” Medimise advice on recovering from hip replacement surgery.

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