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BACKGROUND: Metal-on-metal hip replacement (MoMHR) revision surgery for adverse reactions to metal debris (ARMD) has been associated with an increased risk of early complications and reoperation and inferior patient-reported outcome scores compared with non-ARMD revisions. As a result, early revision specifically for ARMD with adoption of a lower surgical threshold has been widely recommended with the goal of improving the subsequent prognosis after ARMD revisions. However, no large cohorts have compared the risk of complications and reoperation after MoMHR revision surgery for ARMD (an unanticipated revision indication) with those after non-ARMD revisions (which represent conventional modes of arthroplasty revision). QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: (1) Does the risk of intraoperative complications differ between MoMHRs revised for ARMD compared with non-ARMD indications? (2) Do mortality rates differ after MoMHRs revised for ARMD compared with non-ARMD indications? (3) Do rerevision rates differ after MoMHRs revised for ARMD compared with non-ARMD indications? (4) How do implant survival rates differ after MoMHR revision when performed for specific non-ARMD indications compared with ARMD? METHODS: This retrospective observational study involved all patients undergoing MoMHR from the National Joint Registry (NJR) for England and Wales subsequently revised for any indication between 2008 and 2014. The NJR achieves high levels of patient consent (93%) and linked procedures (ability to link serial procedures performed on the same patient and hip; 95%). Furthermore, recent validation studies have demonstrated that when revision procedures have been captured within the NJR, the data completion and accuracy were excellent. Revisions for ARMD and non-ARMD indications were matched one to one for multiple potential confounding factors using propensity scores. The propensity score summarizes the many patient and surgical factors that were used in the matching process (including sex, age, type of primary arthroplasty, time to revision surgery, and details about the revision procedure performed such as the approach, specific components revised, femoral head size, bearing surface, and use of bone graft) using one single score for each revised hip. The patient and surgical factors within the ARMD and non-ARMD groups subsequently became much more balanced once the groups had been matched based on the propensity scores. The matched cohort included 2576 MoMHR revisions with each study group including 1288 revisions (mean followup of 3 years for both groups; range, 1-7 years). Intraoperative complications, mortality, and rerevision surgery were compared between matched groups using univariable regression analyses. Implant survival rates in the non-ARMD group were calculated for each specific revision indication with each individual non-ARMD indication subsequently compared with the implant survival rate in the ARMD group using Cox regression analyses. RESULTS: There was no difference between the ARMD and non-ARMD MoMHR revisions in terms of intraoperative complications (odds ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-1.59; p = 0.900). Mortality rates were lower after ARMD revision compared with non-ARMD revision (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; CI, 0.21-0.87; p = 0.019); however, there was no difference when revisions performed for infection were excluded from the non-ARMD indication group (HR, 0.69; CI, 0.35-1.37; p = 0.287). Rerevision rates were lower after ARMD revision compared with non-ARMD revision (HR, 0.52; CI, 0.36-0.75; p < 0.001); this difference persisted even after removing revisions performed for infection (HR, 0.59; CI, 0.40-0.89; p = 0.011). Revisions for infection (5-year survivorship = 81%; CI, 55%-93%; p = 0.003) and dislocation/subluxation (5-year survivorship = 82%; CI, 69%-90%; p < 0.001) had the lowest implant survival rates when compared with revisions for ARMD (5-year survivorship = 94%; CI, 92%-96%). CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to previous observations, MoMHRs revised for ARMD have approximately half the risk of rerevision compared with non-ARMD revisions. We suspect worldwide regulatory authorities have positively influenced rerevision rates after ARMD revision by recommending that surgeons exercise a lower revision threshold and that such revisions are now being performed at an earlier stage. The high risk of rerevision after MoMHR revision for infection and dislocation is concerning. Infected MoMHR revisions were responsible for the increased mortality risk observed after non-ARMD revision, which parallels findings in non-MoMHR revisions for infection. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, therapeutic study.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin orthop relat res

Publication Date





245 - 258


Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, England, Female, Foreign-Body Reaction, Hip Dislocation, Hip Joint, Hip Prosthesis, Humans, Male, Metal-on-Metal Joint Prostheses, Middle Aged, Propensity Score, Prosthesis Design, Prosthesis Failure, Prosthesis-Related Infections, Registries, Reoperation, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Wales