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What are the possible problems associated with a metal hip replacement?

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Quick Answer

Possible problems associated with a metal hip replacement include possible toxic effects from the metal, implant dislocation and device wear, according to WebMD and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A metal hip replacement is typically given when a patient has a hip that has been damaged due to a fracture, arthritis or another condition.

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What are the possible problems associated with a metal hip replacement?
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Full Answer

Device wear is a problem that can happen with any type of hip implant. Device wear occurs over time as the device placed in the hip begins to wear with repeated use. The other common problem among hip replacements is implant dislocation. This occurs when the implant becomes dislocated and moves to another area within the body. This requires surgery in order to reposition the implant, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The biggest problem for metal hip replacements, however, is the potential for toxicity. Metal particles wear off over time and can then enter the body area surrounding the implant. This is a problem that occurs with metal-on-metal devices, such as when the ball and socket are both made out of metal, according to WebMD. The U.S. Federal Drug Administration suggests patients pay attention to symptoms such as renal function problems, thyroid dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, psychological changes, neurological changes and skin rashes. If these symptoms are present, patients should speak to their doctor to determine whether or not the changes are due to their metal hip replacement. Doctors will then test for metal ion levels in the soft tissue or blood to confirm diagnosis before treatment.

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