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BACKGROUND: Metal-on-metal-hip-resurfacing arthroplasties (MoMHRAs) have been associated with an increased failure rates due to an adverse-response-to-metal-debris (ARMD) associated with a spectrum of pathological features. Serum levels of cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) are used to assess MoMHRAs, with regard to ARMD, but it is not certain whether ion levels correlate with pathological changes in periprosthetic tissues. METHODS: Serum Co and Cr levels were correlated with histological findings in 38 revised MoMHRAs (29 pseudotumour cases and 9 non-pseudotumour cases revised for pain). The extent of necrosis and macrophage infiltrate as well as the aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion (ALVAL) response was assessed semi-quantitatively; the prosthesis linear wear rate (PLWR) was also determined in ten cases. RESULTS: Cr levels were elevated in 82% and Co levels elevated in 53% of cases; the PLWR correlated with Cr level (rho = 0.8, p = 0.006). Tissue necrosis and macrophage infiltration were noted in all, most of which also exhibited significant ALVAL. Although a discrete correlation was not seen between Co and/or Cr ion levels and the extent of necrosis, degree of macrophage infiltration, or ALVAL score, it was noted that cases with acceptable metal ions levels had high ALVAL score. CONCLUSION: Histological features of both innate and adaptive immune response to metal wear are seen in periprosthetic tissues in cases with both elevated and non-elevated metal ion levels. MoMHRA failures with acceptable ion levels exhibited a pronounced ALVAL response. Although metal ion levels are elevated in most cases of MoMHRA failure due to ARMD, the finding of a normal metal ion level does not exclude this diagnosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch orthop trauma surg

Publication Date





1129 - 1137


ALVAL, ARMD, Hip resurfacing, Metal-on-metal, Pseudotumour, Revision, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Chromium, Cobalt, Hip Prosthesis, Humans, Metal-on-Metal Joint Prostheses, Necrosis, Reoperation