No Evidence That Metal Hip Implants Increase Cancer Risk within Seven Years
British researchers have released a study showing that patients who have lived with a metal-on-metal hip implant are not at a heightened risk for developing cancer for at least the first seven years of implantation. Even patients who report premature Zimmer hip problems, such as dislocation of component parts or high metal ion levels in the blood, do not face an increased cancer risk, according to the study.
Zimmer hip problems not associated with cancer
The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal on April 3, 2012, shows that patients with metal-on-metal hip implant replacements like the Zimmer Durom Cup hip are at no greater risk of developing cancer than those using alternative products.
According to Bloomberg.com, the study compared the cancer incident rates of 40,576 patients with metal-on-metal implants to 248,995 patients with alternative implants. Using data compiled by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, researchers were able to conclude that the risk of developing cancer was no higher in those with metal-on-metal devices.
The study comes on the heels of a February investigation by the British Medical Journal and the British Broadcasting Corp. that showed metal-on-metal hip devices, including the Zimmer Durom Cup implant, are more likely to fail than other devices.
No Zimmer hip implant recall warranted, says manufacturer
A Zimmer hip implant recall has never been issued in regard to the Durom Cup. Sales of the device were temporarily suspended in 2008, to allow the company, in the wake of a growing number of Zimmer hip lawsuit actions, to investigate patient reports of serious Zimmer hip problems.
The company discovered no evidence to justify a Zimmer hip implant recall, and returned the Durom Cup to the market after three months, along with enhanced surgical instructions for doctors.
Zimmer hip problems and metallosis not fully addressed
Study co-author Ashley Blom noted that the study had some problems. For example, cancer rates over seven years may not accurately reflect the long-term impact metallosis has on metal-on-metal hip implant patients.
Metallosis, or high metal toxicity in the blood, can occur when metal ions from the hip replacement are released into the body’s soft tissues. One of the more serious Zimmer hip problems alleged by Zimmer hip lawsuit plaintiffs, metallosis can lead to inflammation, dislocation of the implant, tissue damage and bone deterioration.
Blom told Bloomberg.com that only a 20-to-30-year follow up would be sufficient to fully understand the long-term effect of metals such as cobalt and chromium on the body’s tissue and organs.
Blom also noted that younger patients are more prone to choosing metal-on-metal implants and are also less likely to develop cancer. She also pointed out that those who receive these implants are generally healthier than those who do not.
The study did not address the alleged Zimmer hip problems that have been reported by Zimmer hip lawsuit plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ Zimmer hip problems include early dislocation, lack of mobility, severe pain around the joint, and the need for revision surgery to replace the initial device.