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metal on metal hip implant failure

Failure Risks of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Bone loss and subsequent implant failure are well known complications of metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants. Researchers now think they know why. In an article published recently in the journal Biomaterials, German investigators say metal debris from the implants may affect the body’s ability to form new bone.

A metal-on-metal hip implant consists of a ball and cup made of a cobalt and chromium alloy. Originally developed as a more durable alternative to implants with ceramic or polyethylene (plastic) components, MoM implants proved to be the opposite. In general, they have a much higher failure rate than implants made of other materials – a problem attributed mainly (but not solely) to bone erosion in the hip joint, which leads to the artificial joint loosening and the need for revision surgery.
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