LONDON Feb 28 Most British patients with
all metal artificial hips should be followed up throughout their
lifetime with regular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to
check for any potential problems, Britain's medical regulator
said on Tuesday.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
(MHRA) issued the new clinical guidelines to doctors about the
artificial hips after some patients reported problems that
needed more surgery or caused other health problems.
The regulator said around 49,000 patients out of 65,000 with
all-metal hips were in a high risk category.
The move will fuel controversy about the regulation of
medical devices in Europe in the wake of a scandal over France's
Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) breast implants. Critics argue
European oversight is too lax to spot substandard products.
"Metal-on-metal" hips were developed to be more durable than
traditional implants, which combine a metal or ceramic ball with
a plastic socket.
But patients receiving some all-metal hips turned out to be
more likely to need repeat surgery than those who got implants
made of other materials. They also produce debris that can
release chromium and cobalt ions into the blood, causing health