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Hypersensitivity Reactions to Implanted Metal Devices: Facts and Fictions

Teo ZWW, Schalock PC
Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard School of Medicine, Boston,
Massachusetts, USA

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2016; Vol 26(5) : 279-294
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0095

The use of metals in the medical field has become increasingly prevalent over the past few decades. Patients find themselves being exposed to metals in a variety of ways, ranging from external exposure to instruments such as the stainless steel in surgical blades to internal exposure via medical devices being implanted in their bodies. There has been growing interest in the possibility of developing hypersensitivity reactions to constituent metals in medical implant devices, both in cutaneous and systemic forms. Hypersensitivity reactions to metals are uncommon, but they are reported and require appropriate evaluation and management, particularly if they are symptomatic. In view of the lack of consensus in the field on the appropriate steps to evaluate and manage patients with suspected metal hypersensitivity reactions, this review aims to analyze current evidence on hypersensitivity reactions to metallic implants in orthopedic surgery, endovascular surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and dental surgery.

Key words: Metal hypersensitivity, Metallic implants.