[Implant allergy register—a first report]

R Eben, R Walk, B Summer, S Maier, M Thomsen, P Thomas
Der Orthopäde 2009, 38 (6): 557-62

INTRODUCTION: There are case reports about patients with metal implant allergy. However, large-scale observations regarding frequency and elicitors are lacking.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: For 5 years we have been collecting data in a metal allergy register. Information about history, clinical picture, and allergy test results in patients with suspected allergy to metal implants, mostly osteosynthesis and arthroplasty materials, is obtained by means of a special consultation and by report forms.

RESULTS: Major complaints of the 239 patients were pain (68.2%), swelling (42.1%), and erythema (33.5%). A metal allergy was found in 29.6% of the patients, and 24.8% were allergic to potential bone cement components. In addition, peculiar reactions such as a persistent inflammatory response to metal particles in nickel/cobalt-allergic patients or the disappearance of complaints upon revision surgery using titanium-based materials were seen.

CONCLUSION: After excluding causes such as infection or mechanical failure, allergy diagnosis using a patch test with implant metals and bone cement components is recommended in cases of suspected implant allergy.

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