Metal hips: Safety risks in the news – and what's happening next?

There has been a lot of publicity about possible health risks associated with certain kinds of hip replacements. Hip replacement is a very common operation in the UK – over 80,000 people in England and Wales had one in 2011, according to figures in the National Joint Registry – but most patients have nothing to worry about. Not all hip replacements have been identified as a possible cause of problems.

Metal on metal hip replacements have been found to increase the risk of long term inflammation

There has been a lot of publicity about possible health risks associated with certain kinds of hip replacements. Hip replacement is a very common operation in the UK – over 80,000 people in England and Wales had one in 2011, according to figures in the National Joint Registry – but most patients have nothing to worry about. Not all hip replacements have been identified as a possible cause of problems.  

A few kinds of ‘metal on metal’ hip replacements, including some that are used in hip resurfacing, have been found to increase the risk of long term inflammation. This in turn can cause pain and reduce the chance of success if further surgery is needed. However, even among the kinds that have been connected with these issues, most patients do not get any problems.

A national follow up service is being organised to recall patients for testing if they have had one of these kinds of hip replacement. Depending on the kind of device, some patients will need annual blood tests and/or scans of their hips. Once the recall system is set up, you should be invited for review automatically if you are one of these patients.

If you are getting pain following your hip replacement, you should make an appointment with your GP who can contact the hospital where you had your operation to see if review is needed. If your surgery was done privately, you can contact your surgeon or hospital directly.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.