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Increased Risk of Tumors
From Hip Replacements


The 40,000 people with metal hips are to have their implants reviewed by the Medicines and Health care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) over fears that debris from the metal is causing non-cancerous tumours, severe swelling and sinew damage.

An unknown number will have their metal hips taken out and replaced following the review.

Young women are thought to be particularly vulnerable to the damage caused by the metal debris, produced by friction between the two plates at the hip joint.

Metal hips are especially popular among younger patients because they last longer than the alternatives. Around eight per cent of hip replacement patients are under 55.

Legal claims against DePuy, one of the manufacturers of the implants, are being investigated in the United States.

The company insists that the implants are safe, despite issuing a safety notice last month saying its products should not be fitted “in females of childbearing age” and disclosing there was a “higher than expected” rate of removals.

DePuy last week announced plans to phase out the products mentioned in the safety notice, but emphasised that the move did not constitute a recall. “Data about safety were not the basis for this decision,” it said.

Patients considered at risk will be tested for high levels of metal compounds in the blood, and a small number will have their metal hips replaced.

The MHRA said at the weekend: “Any patients who are affected by these recommendations will be contacted by their surgeon.”


April 20, 2010

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