Metal on Metal Hips – There is considerable anxiety about the outcome and complications of metal on metal hips. I can confirm that I have never used the DePuy ASR hip, which has caused the most complications, but I have implanted other metal hip bearings over the past few years.
Anyone who has had a metal hip bearing should be checked out in terms of a simple blood test for Cobalt and Chromium levels, Xrays and if necessary ultrasound or MRI scan to make sure there is no metal debris around the new hip.
I stress that this is a rare risk and it is only a problem affecting a very small percentage of men and a slightly larger percentage of women of (may be up to 7% or so.)
Unfortunately the Internet is full of idle speculation, often based upon anecdotal evidence, some of which has been fuelled by lawyers wishing to pursue litigation.
Just to confirm that Chromium, which exists as Chromium Phosphate around the implant does not cause any problems, in fact it may help to reduce the symptoms of diabetes by improving the efficiency of insulin.
The Cobalt that can accumulate has in very rare cases been associated with heart and brain malfunctions, but this is only in extremely high levels, which are very unusual to find around a hip replacement. Nonetheless if there are abnormal blood levels, this can indicate increasing wear or metal release and therefore indicates that there should be regular clinical checks.
If you have any concerns, I suggest that you an appropriate appointment to let me either re-assure you, or rectify the situation.