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Measurement of Metal Ions Useful for Identifying Failing Hip Implants

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The measurement of whole blood metal ion levels in patients who have undergone total hip replacement with metal-on-metal implants is often useful for identifying patients whose new hips are functioning poorly and may be likely to fail.

According to a recent study, researchers in University College London say that ions of chromium and cobalt are typically elevated in patients with metal-on-metal hip implants.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has proposed that these ions be used in surveillance for failing hips, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been less sure. Doctors with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that the diagnostic ability of such as method is still unknown.

The Dangers of Metal Hip Implants
While researchers find that it is straightforward to diagnose those with very few or very severe symptoms, the challenge is diagnose those with symptoms such as moderate hip pain and abnormal metal ion tests. It is not clear, researchers say, if monitoring metal ion tests in this category of patients can be useful when it comes to hip implant failures.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have posed quite a puzzle for orthopedic surgeons and researchers worldwide. These hip replacements have failed at a high rate and harmed many patients in recent years. In these all-metal hips, ball and cup components are both made of metal. These devices were initially thought to be superior in some respects to traditional hip replacements made of plastic and metal. About 500,000 people in the United States have received all-metal hip implants over the last decade. Thousands of patients have had to replace failing hip implants with painful revision surgeries. Many others have suffered internal damage and loss of mobility.

Compensation for Victims
Metal hip manufacturers have known for quite a while now that these implants have the tendency to fail prematurely. An alarmingly high number of patients require revision surgery within five years. If you have been affected by a faulty hip implant, please contact an experienced product liability lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. Product manufacturers have a legal responsibility to make products that are safe for consumers. Affected victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, cost of hospitalization, unnecessary surgeries, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. The best product liability law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.

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