The Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the U.K has issued updated advice to surgeons that patients with a particular type of metal-on-metal hip replacements should be monitored annually for the life of the hip replacement. This updates previous advice from April 2010 that patients with this type of hip replacement need only be monitored for a minimum of five years after their operation.
An expert advisory group was set up by the MHRA to look at the management of patients with soft tissue swelling associated with metal-on-metal hip implants. This group has met regularly to evaluate new scientific advice and observations from doctors. This updated advice is based on current evidence that patients with hip replacements with a head diameter of 36 millimetres or more need to be monitored every year. By monitoring patients annually any complications will get picked up earlier and more complex surgery on a patient can be avoided.
The MHRA was the first regulatory agency in the world to issue advice to doctors about metal-on-metal hip implants in April 2010. Following reports of problems of large metal-on-metal hip replacements-resurfacing in the late 1990’s the National Joint Registry, The British Orthopaedic Association , The British Hip Society and the MHRA formed a close working relationship as an expert advisory committee to investigate the possibility of potential problems associated with these types of joint replacements. The U.K was the first in the world to issue guidance to its regulatory authority as a result of these closer working practices.
Speaking today about the latest news from the MHRA in the U.K Liam Moloney, A Kildare Healthcare Solicitor whose firm is representing many patients affected by the Depuy ASR implant saga said ‘’ this updated advice from the MHRA in the U.K is to be welcomed and the Irish Medicines Board should follow suit and establish an expert advisory group to look at the management of patients with complications associated from metal-on-metal hip implants. The Board should instruct all orthopaedic surgeons and hospitals where patients have received metal-on-metal hip replacements to review these patients annually free of charge and carry out the appropriate scans and blood tests to ensure that their implants are functioning correctly’’.