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Orthopedic and Dental Industry News Complete Archive »

UK Moves to Ban Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants in NHS Hospitals BY ANDREW VAHRADIAN, NOVEMBER 20, 2013

Due to high failure rates and toxicity concerns, the United Kingdom has decided to ban metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants in hip replacement surgeries performed at publicly funded National Health Service (NHS) hospitals.

This announcement came after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued guidance to NHS hospitals following the publication of results from a recent study conducted by the agency. The study consisted of 17,000 patients with MoM implants and determined that some of the MoM brands had failure rates as high as 43%. Early failures require patients to get follow-up or "revision" hip replacement surgeries, driving higher health care costs. Furthermore, MoM hip implants are thought to deposit toxic metal particles into the bloodstream, a complication that may lead to future health risks.

U.K. regulators are advising the NHS to prohibit any implants in the future with a failure rate higher than 5%. However, experts feel this means nearly every metal-on-metal device, including the implants still on the market, would be banned in the country. Two common models have already been taken off the market as safety concerns have grown more prevalent.

MoM implants continue to receive negative press in the United States as well, with thousands of lawsuits being filed claiming similar problems revealed in the NICE study. It was recently announced that Johnson & Johnson will pay approximately $2.5 billion to resolve an estimated 8,000 lawsuits over its recalled hip implants.

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