Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements: What Goes Wrong?
The concept behind hip replacement surgery is to restore mobility – and quality of life. The number of hip replacement surgeries performed in the USA is staggering – more than seven million people have already undergone the procedure. While a hip replacement that performs as it should can be a lifesaver for people who have lost range of motion or mobility due to a failing hip joint, when a medical device fails, it is a personal disaster.
The FDA reports that over time, metal particles around some brands of hip implants can cause tissue damage to the bone, tissue, or both. This is termed an “adverse local tissue reaction,” (ALTR) or “adverse reaction to metal debris” (ARMD). The medical problems associated with metal debris can include:
- Loosened implant
- Metallosis (allergic reaction to metal)
- Implant failure requiring replacement surgery
The K2 hip system was FDA-approved in 2004, and while the product has the unique customizable features, it is still a metal-on-metal implant and may pose a risk of releasing shards of titanium into the body, or as reported in Australia, have a high rate of breakage. The Apex K2 Femoral Stem is no longer approved in that country.