Pragmatic approach to the clinical work-up of patients with putative allergic disease to metallic orthopaedic implants before and after surgery
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Allergic complications following insertion of metallic orthopaedic implants include allergic dermatitis reactions but also extracutaneous complications. As metal-allergic patients and/or surgeons may ask dermatologists and allergologists for advice prior to planned orthopaedic implant surgery, and as surgeons may refer patients with complications following total joint arthroplasty for diagnostic work-up, there is a continuous need for updated guidelines. This review presents published evidence for patch testing prior to surgery and proposes tentative diagnostic criteria which clinicians can rely on in the work-up of patients with putative allergic complications following surgery. Few studies have investigated whether subjects with metal contact allergy have increased risk of developing complications following orthopaedic implant insertion. Metal allergy might in a minority increase the risk of complications caused by a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction. At present, we do not know how to identify the subgroups of metal contact allergic patients with a potentially increased risk of complications following insertion of a metal implant. We recommend that clinicians should refrain from routine patch testing prior to surgery unless the patient has already had implant surgery with complications suspected to be allergic or has a history of clinical metal intolerance of sufficient magnitude to be of concern to the patient or a health provider. The clinical work-up of a patient suspected of having an allergic reaction to a metal implant should include patch testing and possibly in vitro testing. We propose diagnostic criteria for allergic dermatitis reactions as well as noneczematous complications caused by metal implants.