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Allergies

Testing for metal allergies

09/23/2009

Question:

I have always been very sensitive to most metals that come in contact with my skin. I need to have a cervical fusion and my doctor wants to use stainless steel wire to reinforce the fusion. I break out very badly when I wear stainless steel, say as in a watchband. Does this mean that on the inside, I will also have a reaction? Are there definitive tests that I can have taken beforehand to rule this out? I appreciate any and all help. Thank you very much.

Answer:

Yes, there are patch tests available for metals.  Only some centers have this readily available.  Our group patch tests individuals routinely to the relevant metals in the prosthetic devices used for spinal and orthopedic procedures.

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati