Study: Women more sensitive to metal joint replacement implants than men

Among joint replacement patients with unexplained pain after surgery, women are more likely than men to test positive for sensitivity to metal used in joint implants, according to a study published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

For the study, researchers examined data on 2,613 patients who underwent joint replacement procedures with metal-containing implants and were subsequently evaluated for unexplained postoperative joint pain. Approximately 60 percent of the patients were women.

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On a 10-point scale, women had an average pain score of 6.8, as compared to the average pain score for men, which was 6.1. The patients all underwent a blood test to evaluate sensitization to metals.

Around 49 percent of women tested positive for metal sensitization, as compared to 38 percent of men. Additionally, women tended to have a higher severity of metal sensitivity among those patients who tested positive.

"This supports both our hypothesis and previous reports that females may have a higher risk of adverse responses to implant metals," study authors wrote.

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