Incidence of Metal Allergies in Orthopaedic Surgery Patients Who Self-Report Allergy History
Background: Metal allergy is reported in 10%-17% of the general population. There is inconclusive evidence on the role of metal allergy in painful/aseptic arthroplasty loosening. Objective: To determine the incidence of metal allergy in orthopaedic patients who self-report and characterize which metals cause allergy.Methods: This is a retrospective chart review. All patients were questioned about metal allergy history; all positive cases were patch tested for specific metals. Results: 41 of 840 patients self-reported allergy. 34 tested positive. 32 (78.05%) reported inability to wear metal accessories. 30 (73.17% of tested, 93.75% of reporting) demonstrated allergy. 27 tested positive for nickel allergy, 4 to cobalt, 4 to gold thiosulfate, one to tin, one to titanium, and 7 to multiple metals. 6 had metal orthopaedic implants prior to testing. Conclusion: Metal allergy can be concerning for surgeons. Greater awareness of sensitivity may prevent patient exposure to implants that may cause allergic reactions.
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