Okay, you’re getting older, but thanks to modern science and medicine, knee joints, foot joints, hand joints, shoulders, necks and hips can be replaced with titanium alloys, or various chemical compounds, well after natural bone has begun to disintegrate. The new joints will probably outlast the patient, with 10 to 15 years or more of success.
But wait! After the surgery, the pains continue well over the normal healing time.
Metal allergies can inflame the skin after it has been in contact with metal. Nickel allergy and allergies to mercury and chromium have long been recognized; gold, palladium, and cobalt have gotten attention more recently. They are a form of allergic contact dermatitis. They are becoming more common, as of 2021, except in areas with regulatory countermeasures.
In some cases the contact with tissue is not as obvious and can only detected after implantation into a human for a joint replacement.
It is estimated that about 17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to nickel and about 1 – 3% of the general population is allergic to chromium and cobalt. It is observed that metal allergy is generally seen in women who use jewelry made from high nickel alloys. Body piercing may also make the person vulnerable to these allergies.
After William Cole, now 80 years old, from Newark had his knee replacements, the pain endured and he learned to live with it. A later joint replacement in the area of his thumb proved no relief from pain and the titanium alloy was replaced with ceramic and the pain disappeared. He was in the 10%+ percentage of patients that have a not-so-pleasing reaction to titanium alloys.
After years of such replacements, doctors discovered the ongoing pain was not the result of a failed operation, rather the person receiving the metal insertions and screws has an ‘allergy’, or body aversion to the metal used in the procedure.
Most hip and joint replacement pieces are constructed of some sort of combination of metal, ceramic or plastic. These materials are rigid. However, titanium is flexible and can bend without breaking. Titanium also stimulates bone growth surrounding the replacement, which means your bone actually grows into the implant. This causes your titanium hip replacement to rigidly fix to your hip bone, resulting in a longer-lasting hip.
Enhanced biocompatibility of titanium alloys allows joint replacements to last 10 to 15 years, or more.
Titanium is considered the most biocompatible metal due to its resistance to corrosion from bodily fluids. But it has it’s detractors
There are several factors to consider when debating whether or not to get a hip, or other joint replacement. One of the most important factors is the safety of the device that will be used in the replacement.
Titanium replacements are becoming increasingly popular because they are lightweight and strong. However there have been a few cases of ‘metal poisoning’ in people who have received titanium hip replacements. In some cases, the metal particles from the hip replacement have leached into the bloodstream and caused serious health problems. There have also been cases of the hip replacement itself failing. Overall, titanium hip replacements are generally safe, however, it is the responsibility of the surgeon and you to make an informed decision.
Ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants are exactly what they sound like: both the ball and the socket are ceramic. Hip implants made of ceramic on ceramic have been the subject of numerous orthopedic expert opinions since they were first used in 1970 because they are of the highest quality and durability.
Regardless of the metal/ceramic, plastic used in a joint replacement, nothing is perfect.
People with metal hypersensitivity may have numerous symptoms associated with an overactive immune system, including chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, cognitive impairment, depression, headaches, fibromyalgia and skin rashes.
Replacements and repairs of teeth can also cause problems. Gold has virtually no allergies, but the too soft metal has to be mixed with other materials to make it hard enough for dental work.
Dental implants are typically made from titanium metal alloys, and in some rare cases, people may experience titanium allergy symptoms.
The International Journal of Implant Dentistry points out that zirconia implants can be an alternative to titanium implants. But there isn’t long-term clinical data associated with their usage, and so your dental professional is the best person to speak to about alternative options.
A German company has developed MELISA test – a scientifically proven and clinically validated blood test that detects type-IV allergy to multiple metals, such as mercury, gold, palladium and titanium.