Cancer Rate Seen with Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants . Although metal-on-metal hip implants like the recalled DePuy Orthopaedics ASR model and others have been linked to myriad complications and side effects, it does not appear they cause an increased risk of cancer for recipients of the devices.
According to a new study appearing in British Medical Journal and presented to the British Orthopaedic Association, people who’ve been implanted with one of several metal-on-metal hip implants do not face an increased risk of cancer caused by an accumulation of toxic metals cobalt and chromium.
The study found that after a seven-year period of relying on the metal-on-metal hip implants, recipients are not more likely than others to develop cancer. This risk had been suspected as several recipients of these largely defective medical devices had developed small tumors believed to be caused by the toxic build-up of these metals.
One of the hallmark defects of metal-on-metal hip implants is that they shed small metallic particles into the body through normal wear-and-tear of the devices. The study, based on cases reported to the U.K. National Joint Registry, found that the risk of cancer is not present among recipients of metal-on-metal implants during the first seven years of wearing the devices.
Study authors suggest that its findings are limited because of the time scope
Study authors suggest that its findings are limited because of the time scope, just seven years. However, many people who receive these implants may be lucky to go seven years without experiencing any complications and may be just as likely to have a replacement implant installed over the defective metal-on-metal devices.
Metal-on-metal hip implants been under constant criticism since they were first introduced several years ago as an alternative to the traditional implants that use ceramic or plastic component parts.
The DePuy ASR, for example, was recalled from the market in August 2010 after the manufacturer finally echoed the findings of numerous studies and reports from disgruntled recipients that the device was prone to early failures that forced people to undergo revision and replacement surgeries, all while forcing them to endure near-constant pain and inflammation at the site of the implant.
While this new study may clear the devices from a connection to cancer in the first seven years of relying on them, that does not mean they don’t face that risk the longer they use the devices.
Despite being cleared of this risk, makers of metal-on-metal hip implants still face increasing legal battles from recipients who blame the devices for numerous other complications, especially their overall failure risk.
They say the manufacturers of these devices failed to properly test the devices before they were approved for use and that they failed to warn physicians of their risks before deciding to implants patients with them.
The Food and Drug Administration has since ordered 33 manufacturers of these devices and their component parts to conduct full post-market safety studies to prove that they are safe and effective as they’ve been promoted to be. Since that order, several companies have recalled devices or components because of risks they pose to recipients.