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When we’ve talked about contact dermatitis in the past, we know the usual culprits in Nashville: latex gloves, bleach, soap, jewelry - the list goes on. Fortunately for many of these patients, the cause of the condition is quite obvious. However, as I’ve come to learn from two of my patients, there’s a new suspect on the block that’s a little harder to pinpoint as the cause of these pesky rashes: metal implants.
Where do you find them in Americans? Every year, there are millions of hip and knee replacements, stent procedures, dental implants and more. Usually, these joints, stents and implants will contain metal - and for some people, their body rejects them by taking it out on the skin. In fact, 17 - 20% of our population is allergic to nickel! Thus, it would make sense that those receiving implants who develop rashes would be reacting to the nickel. In addition, cobalt and chromium are issues as well.
Despite this high allergy rate, however, patients continue to receive these implants. Although the reasoning behind why some people develop contact dermatitis from metal implants and others don’t is still a little unclear. There are some clear symptoms you and physicians in Nashville can keep an eye out for! Signs like device failure, pain, or even evaluating patch tests can be good indicators of whether or not contact dermatitis is a potential issue.
In our experience, our Nashville practice has had two patients diagnosed with contact dermatitis to their metal joint implants, based on the fact that their full body rash started after the implant was placed and that the joint implants were causing them pain. Unfortunately, removing the implant really was not an option for either of these patients, so we treated them with oral steroids to calm the reaction. After a month of oral steroids, their symptoms abated and they were able to tolerate the implant, the rash was not as severe when it returned, and was easily controlled by the application of topical steroids. We hope this kind of treatment will continue to work for others affected by metallic implants in Nashville, too!
Are you struggling with contact dermatitis after receiving a metal implant, or aren’t sure what the cause is? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.