New Study Examines Metal Hip Implant Cancer Risk
A new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that metal hip implant recipients are not at an increased risk of developing cancer over the short-term. The new study comes after a February report which suggested that metal-on-metal hip implants could potentially cause metal poisoning, which may lead to more serious complications, including cancer.
The study looked at data for 40,576 patients with metal-on-metal hip implants and 248,995 patients with alternative bearings. Specifically, researchers looked at the cancer rate based on hospital admissions. The patient data was provided by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) and the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, which records information about ankle, knee and hip replacement surgeries. Researchers looked at the rates of malignant melanoma as well as hematological, prostate and renal tract cancers, all of which are associated with an increased presence of metal ions in the body.
Using computer models, the researchers found that patients with metal hip implants actually had a lower cancer rate than their plastic and ceramic counterparts and the general population. According to Ashley Blom, head of the orthopedics department at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and co-author of the study, the difference was so minimal that it should not impact a physician’s decision about which type of implant to use. The devices used in the study included those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Zimmer Holdings and Smith & Nephew. All three companies currently face numerous lawsuits in the U.S. filed on behalf of patients who say they were seriously injured by a metal hip device. A number of the lawsuits involve Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy ASR hip, which was recalled in 2010 after data suggested that the devices were failing prematurely.
While the researchers said that the initial findings are promising, additional research is needed to determine what impact the all-metal hips have on cancer rates over the long-term. Specifically, the study’s authors noted that the long-term biological effects of metal hips is still unknown and that ideally, research would need to be conducted over a period of 20 to 30 years to obtain more accurate results. The study also suggested that the chromium and cobalt used to manufacture metal hip implants can cause potentially cause cellular damage at the genetic level as well as damage to the bone marrow, blood, liver, kidneys and bladder.
Last month, British researchers called for a ban on the use of metal hip implants after another study indicated that the failure rates associated with these devices was much higher than previously thought. The announcement came shortly after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new guidelines for metal hip implant recipients recommending lifetime monitoring and MRI scans to detect potential problems.
Patients in the U.S. and abroad who received a metal hip implant are urged to consult their doctor if they experience any pain, swelling, loss of mobility or other complications. It’s also recommended that they contact an experienced hip implant injury lawyer to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury claim for compensation.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is currently investigating claims in all 50 states involving metal hip implants manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical Technologies. For more information on filing a hip implant lawsuit, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.