Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Pathological assessment of periprosthetic tissues is important, not only for diagnosis, but also for understanding the pathobiology of implant failure. The host response to wear particle deposition in periprosthetic tissues is characterised by cell and tissue injury, and a reparative and inflammatory response in which there is an innate and adaptive immune response to the material components of implant wear. Physical and chemical characteristics of implant wear influence the nature of the response in periprosthetic tissues and account for the development of particular complications that lead to implant failure, such as osteolysis which leads to aseptic loosening, and soft-tissue necrosis/inflammation, which can result in pseudotumour formation. The innate response involves phagocytosis of implant-derived wear particles by macrophages; this is determined by pattern recognition receptors and results in expression of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors promoting inflammation and osteoclastogenesis; phagocytosed particles can also be cytotoxic and cause cell and tissue necrosis. The adaptive immune response to wear debris is characterised by the presence of lymphoid cells and most likely occurs as a result of a cell-mediated hypersensitivity reaction to cell and tissue components altered by interaction with the material components of particulate wear, particularly metal ions released from cobalt-chrome wear particles.Cite this article: Professor N. A. Athanasou. The pathobiology and pathology of aseptic implant failure. Bone Joint Res 2016;5:162-168. DOI: 10.1302/2046-3758.55.BJR-2016-0086.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint res

Publication Date





162 - 168


biology, implant