There are two commonly accepted tests that can help to determine if an individual is allergic to one or more metals. One is a Patch Test, which is most commonly performed. The less common test is a Lymphocyte Transformation Test, which is a blood test. Both tests must be ordered by health care providers.
Skin prick tests and skin injection tests are useful to identify allergies to substances like pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites and foods, but they are not used to identify allergies to metals.
In patch testing, small amounts of suspected allergens are placed within individual small testing wells on adhesive patches, which are then applied to your skin. They are removed after 48 hours, and the skin is monitored for a reaction for up to seven days. During the first 48 hours, the patient is instructed to refrain from showering, swimming, and bathing to prevent the patches from getting wet.
This test typically requires 4 separate visits to the doctor’s office, day 1 (patch application), day 3 (patch removal and observation for reaction), day 5 (observation for reaction), day 7 (observation for reaction).
Lymphocyte Transformation Blood Test:
In a Lymphocyte Transformation Test, whole blood is drawn and sent to the testing lab facility. Specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes are separated from the blood and are then placed in close proximity to individual metals. The T-cell responses are observed and recorded. How these cells respond to each metal determines whether an individual is allergic to that metal. There are very few laboratories that perform this test. One laboratory is located in Neuss, Germany, which performs their proprietary version of this test, which is named MELISA.
Sensiband Metal Allergy Test Kit:
Sensiband is a novel testing kit, which includes a removable wristband that allows individuals to test themselves for potential allergies to seven of the most commonly used metals in medical implants. It does not require a doctor’s visit, and if desired, it can be worn while showering and when swimming.