Anyone considering a hip replacement at this time is going to be very concerned about metal-on-metal implants. The news stories have travelled the globe and the DePuy recall alone is affecting 93,000. How many of these will need revision surgeon is still to be determined but it could be nearly 50% according to one study.
As a result many surgeons and patients are now opting for ceramic implants and the most popular of these is a ceramic-on-ceramic where both components are made of the same material.
What are Ceramic Hip Implants
If you're thinking that ceramic is something they make tea cups out of – this isn’t the same stuff rather it's an oxide of a metal and it is the 2nd hardest substance available, beaten only by diamond.
The surface of ceramic hip implants is very, very smooth. This means there is very little wear over the years and these implants are expected to last decades. No one knows for sure as they haven't started to wear out yet.
As importantly when two surfaces rub together minutes particles are given off and with metal-on-metal implants it is these particles that are the root of the problems. Ceramic particles are not metallic and so are considered safer, particularly for women of child-bearing age.
There have been some incidents of “catastrophic failure” with ceramic hip implants, where the implant fails completely. However the risk of this is now very much reduced with improvements made in the implants over the years.
The other disadvantage is they are more costly.
Before agreeing to any type of implant it is important that you do your own research. Try sites like Hip Replacement and Recovery which has a section devoted to the different types of hip implants and the problems with metal-on-metal.
Do not let anyone pressure you into having an implant you're not happy with. It's your body and it has to be your choice.