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Sensitive to nickel. Planning to take a knee implant manufactured from cobalt, chromium. Is it safe?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10460 Questions
Thank you! I am sensitive to nickel---verified with skin patch allergy testing. Also, I had planned to have tka with a knee implant manufactured from cobalt, chromium, etc. Is this advisable, or should I seek a more "hypoallergenic" implant material?
Posted Thu, 5 Sep 2013 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
You can opt for oxinium implant.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for posting your query.
The risk of implant failure or allergic reaction after a metal implant in case of a known nickel allergy is low but the chances of complications and implant failure are present.
Several types of prostheses exist today and their composition varies. The bearing part of the knee replacement is generally made from polyethylene. The other prosthesis is usually composed of metal. Some are made of a chrome/cobalt alloy, some from stainless steel, some from titanium, and some from a ceramic-coated zirconium known as “oxinium.” The first two contain nickel; the second two do not.
You can discuss this with your surgeon and opt for an oxinium implant.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sensitive to nickel. Planning to take a knee implant manufactured from cobalt, chromium. Is it safe? 2 days later
Good evening, and thank you for the very informative reply. I agree with you that the Oxinium material is probably my best choice. However, my current orthopedist recommended the ConforMis patient-specific iTotal G2 implant due to my bone structure and presumably to help with rehab since my right knee needs replacing, too. I have not heard from him since he received the allergy testing results a few days ago... I do want to be well informed so that I can make the very best decision when he does contact me. Please tell me if the ConforMis product has a very low Nickel content or a moderately high content. Also, in your expert opinion, do you know any reasons this particular implant could be a better alternative to one made of oxinium in a person with nickel sensitivity? Due to the severe pain I am experiencing, I am tempted to proceed with this surgery rather than going through the several month waiting period to get established with another orthopaedist and then re-scheduling surgery. However, I don't want this agonizing pain to cause me to make a bad decision for the long term.. Please, Dr. Tayal, share your knowledge, thoughts, and advice regarding the subjects and issues I have mentioned in this message. I thank you again, very much appreciate your help, and will be looking forward to receiving your reply!!!
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 22 hours later
Brief Answer:
It contains moderate amount of nickel.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
The implant that your orthopedist has suggested contains a moderate amount of nickel. The allergic reactions are always unpredictable. Although the chances of having a difficulty in rehabilitation after the surgery due to the allergy are less than 2-3%, still it cannot be ruled out completely. You can discuss this with your orthopedist and he may consider using an oxinium implant in view of your present condition.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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