High Incidence of Mechanically Assisted Crevice Corrosion at 10 Years in Non-Cemented, Non-Recalled, Contemporary Total Hip Arthroplasties

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Orthopedics, Surgery

Journal Title

The Journal of arthroplasty

MeSH Headings

Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip (adverse effects); Chromium; Cobalt; Corrosion; Hip Prosthesis (adverse effects); Humans; Incidence; Prosthesis Design; Prosthesis Failure; Reoperation (adverse effects)


BACKGROUND: One percent to 3% of contemporary non-cemented total hip arthroplasties (THAs) present with symptomatic mechanically assisted crevice corrosion (MACC). The incidence of this problem, however, as well as the rate of asymptomatic elevations in serum cobalt, is unknown. METHODS: Cobalt and chromium levels were obtained in conjunction with radiographs at routine 10-year surveillance follow-up of THAs from a single manufacturer with a titanium stem, cobalt alloy femoral head, and cross-linked polyethylene countersurface. RESULTS: Ten-year follow-up of patients with 162 consecutive THAs revealed that 17 patients with 18 hips had died of unrelated causes prior to metal ion testing. Two hips were revised for other reasons, and of the remaining 142 hips, 33 were in patients who were lost, leaving 109 hips (77% of those in alive patients and unrevised for other reasons and 67% of the entire cohort) for investigation. Sixty-three patients (58%) had a serum cobalt less than 1 ppb, and 35 (32%) a cobalt of ≥1 ppb, a cutoff consistent with MACC. Of the 32 hips with definite MACC, 15 of 32 (47%) patients were symptomatic, 16 of 30 (53%) patients had adverse local tissue reaction on magnetic resonance imaging, and 19 of 32 (59%) patients have undergone revision surgery for MACC to date. CONCLUSION: At 10-year follow-up, a minimum of 22% (35/162) of hips had a cobalt level more than 1 ppb, consistent with MACC. Symptoms and adverse local tissue reactions are each present about one-half of the time, and 59% of those with documented MACC have undergone revision.

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