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Metal on metal hip replacement


As you read more about hip replacement or talk to your doctor about your options, the subject of metal on metal hip replacement surgery may come up.

Why metal on metal hip replacement surgery?

Traditional hip replacement surgery often involves implanting a metal ball that moves in a plastic socket.

Over time, the harder metal ball can wear down a plastic socket. This is likely to happen in people who are very active after hip replacement surgery.

In metal-on-metal total hip replacements, both pieces of the new joint are made of metal.

  • These types of implants are stronger and may be more able to hold up under heavy usage.
  • The implant is larger and the risk of dislocation is smaller.

This procedure particularly helps people who are very active or people who are younger (under age 60) when they have a hip replacement.

If you have not already read about the basic steps of hip replacement surgery, see Hip replacement surgeries.

Problems may occur in some patients. The metal rubbing on metal can create small particles of metal debris. This can cause problems to your body. Your doctor should discuss this issue with you and also how to monitor it. See also: Risks for hip replacement surgery.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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