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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Medical Devices

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Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Hip joint deterioration can lead to pain, stiffness or difficulty walking. When these symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, patients may be advised to undergo total hip replacement or hip resurfacing. As part of this treatment, they may receive a “metal-on-metal” hip implant in which the “ball and socket” of the device are both made from metal. This webpage provides information on: hip implants, how metal-on-metal implants differ from other hip implants and recommendations for patients and health care providers about the benefits and risks of these products. The information provided on this webpage is not meant to replace a discussion with your health care provider.

Drawing of the types of metal-on-metal hip implant systems that are currently available: metal-on-metal total hip replacment system and metal-on-metal hip resurfacing system.

During the June 2012 Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel meeting, the FDA reviewed available data and discussed the safety risks and effectiveness of metal-on-metal hip implants with patients, physicians, researchers, international regulatory agencies, professional societies, and manufacturers. Issues discussed included:

  • Failure rates and modes;
  • Metal ion testing;
  • Imaging methods;
  • Local and systemic complications;
  • Patient risk factors; and
  • Considerations for follow-up after surgery.

The FDA considered the input provided by the Panel members and is now providing updated safety information to patients and health care providers. The FDA will continue to gather and review available data on currently marketed metal-on-metal hip implants and will provide updates as necessary to patients and health care providers.

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