We have written countless articles discussing the dangers of metal-on-metal implants, yet a new study is downplaying the potential dangerous effects, such as the risk of cancer.
The recent study was published in the British Medical Journal which analyzed cancer rates among patients with metal-on-metal implants versus patients with other types of implants as well as the general population. This study included 40,576 patients with MoM implants.
The authors of the study from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol examined the negative effects of metal surfaced hip implants after seven years of use and was predicated on the multitude of reports of Englanders and other people in the U.K. who’ve already experienced one or several of the oft-reported side effects of receiving one of these implants.
Researchers noted that male patients with metal hip implants had a 6.2% chance of being diagnosed with cancer within seven years of their hip arthroplasty surgeries; women who had undergone implant surgery with a metal-on-metal hip implant faced a 4% risk of developing cancer in the seven-year post-operative period. These cancer rates for MoM patients were lower than the cancer rates noted in the general population as well as in patients who had other implantable devices.
While the study does note the risk of toxic metal poisoning caused by normal wear of these devices, researchers downplay the potential risk of cancer among recipients. Since the study only looks at the first seven years of a person’s life after they receive an all-metal hip implant, such as the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR or Pinnacle resurfacing components, it is unlikely they were going to find someone affected by cancer that’s been caused by the devices.
While cancer may not be the primary concern, there have been some diagnoses of cancer that have been linked to all-metal implants. Still, the other risks posed by all-metal implants could be just as dangerous. As noted previously, the risk of toxic metal poisoning caused by normal wear-and-tear of the devices remains a top concern. The study from the U.K. did note this risk, showing that recipients of all-metal implants had high levels of the metals cobalt and chromium in their bloodstream and body organs. This can eventually lead to organ damage and organ failure.
The study was funded by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales.