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All-Metal Hip Replacements: Not All Patients Informed of Recall | Qmed.

All-Metal Hip Replacements: Not All Patients Informed of Recall

British orthopedics officials have written surgeons, fearing not all patients who got “metal-on-metal” hip replacements know they were recalled.

The British Orthopaedic Association has notified surgeons because they are concerned some of the 40,000 patients who got “metal-on-metal” hip replacements never got the recall notice.

Professor Joe Dias, the association’s president, told The Sunday Telegraph the letters said the records held by DePuy — a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — show that just over one-third of the patients with the devices were recorded as having participated in the recall.

Dias said it was possible other patients had been contracted by hospitals and undergone checks, without their details being centrally logged but that he was concerned some patients were never contacted.

The surgeon said private hospitals and large National Health Service units seemed to have been thorough in contacting patients, it was less clear if small NHS units had.

“My worry would be about cases where surgeons have retired, and no-one is following up on the patients they treated,” Dias told the Telegraph.

The implants’ manufacturers cannot contact patients directly, because they do not have access to their records.

The metal-on-metal implants were considered stronger and were often given to younger patients, but friction between the metal ball and cup causes minuscule metal filings to chip off and seep into the blood causing inflammation, destroying muscle and bone, Dias said.

There are concerns fragments containing cobalt and chromium could put the kidneys and other organs at risk. In 2010, patients were told to be checked annually for at least five years.

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