Government health experts said this week there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles.
The Food and Drug Administration asked its 18-member panel to recommend guidelines for monitoring more than a half-million U.S. patients with metal hip replacements. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate, exposing patients to higher levels of cobalt, chromium and other metals.
While the FDA has not raised the possibility of removing the devices from the market, most panelists said there were few, if any, cases where they would recommend implanting the devices.
“I do not use metal-on-metal hips, and I can see no reason to do so,” said Dr. William Rohr of Mendocino Coast District Hospital, who chaired the meeting.