[Implant allergies]

P Thomas, M Thomsen
Der Hautarzt; Zeitschrift Für Dermatologie, Venerologie, und Verwandte Gebiete 2010, 61 (3): 255-62; quiz 263-4
An increasing number of patients receive and benefit from osteosynthesis materials or artificial joint replacement. The most common complications are mechanical problems or infection. Metals like nickel, chromium and cobalt as well as bone cement components like acrylates and gentamicin are potential contact allergens which can cause intolerance reactions to implants. Eczema, delayed wound/bone healing, recurrent effusions, pain and implant loosening all have been described as manifestation of implant allergy. In contrast to the high incidence of cutaneous metal allergy, allergies associated with implants are rare. Diagnosis of metal implant allergy is still difficult. Thus differential diagnoses--in particular infection--have to be excluded and a combined approach of allergologic diagnostics by patch test and histopathology of peri-implant tissue is recommended. It is still unknown which conditions induce allergic sensitization to implants or trigger peri-implant allergic reactions in the case of preexisting cutaneous metal allergy. Despite the risk of developing complications being unclear, titanium based osteosynthesis materials are recommended for metal allergic patients and the use of metal-metal couplings in arthroplasty is not recommended for such patients. If the regular CoCr-polyethylene articulation is employed, the patient should give informed written consent.

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