Approximately 56,000 people with metal-on-metal (MOM) hip implants are being urged to visit their GP for scans and blood tests following concerns that the implants may be toxic.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a UK health watchdog, has this week issued a warning to approximately 56,000 people who are thought to have received a MOM hip replacement, following growing evidence that they can cause soft tissue damage in patients who are, and who are not, showing symptoms.

The MHRA has also issued updated guidance for medical professionals to follow when treating patients with metal-on-metal hip implants.

The new guidance will mean women with the implants will need to have annual check-ups for the rest of their lives, even if they do not have any symptoms of muscle damage, as studies have shown that women are more likely to need corrective surgery.

Men with symptoms will be required to have an annual check-up, whereas those without symptoms will require tests every three years.

MOM implants were developed in the 1990s as an alternative to a metal ball and plastic socket, but have been largely phased out since 2013, after a study found a high failure rate in 17,000 patients reviewed.

MHRA clinical director of medical devices, Dr Neil McGuire, said: “Although the majority of patients with these metal on metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant. The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary.”

Leading medical negligence lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, is now encouraging people with the MOM hip implants to visit their GP as soon as possible, as they may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim for product liability.

Linda Millband, national lead lawyer of the clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “While it’s positive to see new guidance issued by the MHRA on the monitoring of these implants, thousands of people could be unknowingly affected and going about their daily lives without being aware of the damage the implant is having on their bodies. It’s vital that those who have received the metal-on-metal hip implant book an appointment with their GP as soon as possible so that they can receive prompt treatment or corrective surgery if necessary.

“If your GP finds evidence that you have suffered injury as a result of the metal-on-metal hip implants, our experienced medical negligence lawyers can help you make a medical negligence compensation claim. Even if you received the implants ten years ago, but the injury has been diagnosed in the past three years, you could still be entitled to make a compensation claim.”

"If your GP finds evidence that you have suffered injury as a result of the metal-on-metal hip implants, our experienced medical negligence lawyers can help you make a medical negligence compensation claim. Even if you received the implants ten years ago, but the injury has been diagnosed in the past three years, you could still be entitled to make a compensation claim."

Linda Millband
national lead lawyer of the clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors