Faulty medical implants investigation: Patients who were promised an easier life, but got more pain and worry
Thousands of British patients are threatened with serious health problems because they have been implanted with artificial “metal on metal” hips.
6:55AM BST 23 Oct 2012
More than 60,000 people have been given the joints, which can rub together, causing tiny particles of metal to break off and seep into the blood. Fears have been raised that the high levels of metal ions in the blood may lead to cancer.
Earlier this year the British Hip Society advised that stemmed, large diameter metal on metal total hip implants should no longer be used.
Sally Gration, 57, a nursery school teacher from Stockport, Greater Manchester, had a metal on metal implant fitted in her right hip in 2006. Within 18 months, she started experiencing problems and by May 2009 she was finding it hard to walk.
“I started experiencing extreme pain with my hip when I was on holiday in London,” said Mrs Gration.
“In 2011 I discovered that I had high levels of chromium cobalt in my body and the implant needed to come out. But when they removed it, they couldn’t put a new one in because it had affected my body so badly.
“I couldn’t walk. I had to live in the lounge. I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to walk again.”
Mrs Gration now has a ceramic hip implant, but has lost her job because of the time she had to take off work.
“The whole system needs to be better regulated, we can’t be used as guinea pigs,” she said. Kathy Mather, 62, a welfare benefit adviser from Carmarthenshire, had metal on metal implants fitted in both of her hips because of osteoarthritis. After 18 months with the first one she claimed “it didn’t feel right”.
“I had a clunking feeling in my hip,” said Mrs Mather. “I didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t feel like it was moving properly.”
By July 2009, a blotchy rash had spread over her body.
“The rash was agony,” said Mrs Mather. “I thought it was shingles initially, but it wouldn’t go away, even though I was taking lots of antihistamines.”
In spring last year, she had the right hip implant removed and the rash subsided.
Doctors have told Mrs Mather that she is likely to still have high levels of metal ions in her body for some time.
“I’m very worried about the long-term effects these ions might have,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m going to need further surgery.
“You presume that the checks and tests are in place once a product has been approved,” said Mrs Mather. “Thousands of people have got these products, it should have been picked up that they might not be safe.”
Chris Monk, a finance manager from Causton near Norwich, had an implant fitted into his left hip in May 2006. Eighteen months after the operation it began squeaking loudly when he walked.
“It was very embarrassing,” said Mr Monk. “People in the street would look at me because the noise was so bad.
“My hip them began to grind and I started getting pain down my leg.”
Tests showed that he had metal poisoning and the doctors said the implant needed to be removed. In July 2011, he was fitted with a ceramic hip.
“When they took the old implant out they had to remove some bone and muscle because of the poisoning. I now walk with a bit of a sway,” said Mr Monk.
“I regret having a metal on metal hip. I’m angry that they were allowed on the market. They should have been tested properly.”
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- Video: Faulty hip implants have ruined lives says Orthopaedic Professor – Telegraph (earlsview.com)
- Faulty medical implants investigation: Patients at risk from flaws in medical device rules, admit EU chiefs (telegraph.co.uk)
- Dodgy medical implants getting approved – EasyBlog (earlsview.com)
- Faulty medical implants investigation: ‘We can help you label it European so China is not on packaging’ – Telegraph (earlsview.com)
- Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Should You Be Worried? (earlsview.com)
- First faulty hip implants case brought | Irish Examiner (earlsview.com)
- Faulty medical implants investigation: Patients failed by poor implant regulation, say surgeons (telegraph.co.uk)
- US Drug Watchdog Now Urges All DePuy Pinnacle All Metal Hip Implant Recipients to Call Them for the Names of the Best Law Firms-Be Concerned About Premature Failures (prweb.com)