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Early findings from a study of the effects of “metal-on-metal” hip implants such as those being recalled by DePuy, suggest that the implants could increase the risk of cancer and genetic damage.

The British study is understood to have detected changes to cells in the bladders of more than 1 in 5 patients who were studied after receiving the DePuy metal on metal hip replacements. Most people are already aware that problems can occur with the hip replacements when friction between the metal ball and cup causes miniscule metal filings to break off, which can then later seep into the blood, causing inflammation, destroying muscle and bone, and later potentially causing the hip replacement to fail.

However now it has been reported that there are also concerns that metal traces in the blood could put major organs at risk of being slowly poisoned, and increase the chance of cancer.  The organs thought likely to be affected are the kidneys and the bladder.  The new research shoed that out of 72 patients, damage was found in the bladders of 17 people.  Worryingly three patients developed full-blown cancer.

Orthopaedic consultants in Bristol who undertook the study said they hope to present the results to other surgeons next month.

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