Metal Ion Hypersensitivity in Metal-on-Metal Hip Arthroplasty

  • Y. -S. Park
  • Y. -W. Moon
  • S. -J. Lim
Conference paper
Part of the Ceramics in Orthopaedics book series (CIO)


Total hip arthroplasty with use of metal-on-metal bearings has been reintroduced as an alternative to metal-on-polyethylene bearings because of theoretical advantages such as reduced wear and a lower prevalence of osteolysis. However, we have observed early osteolysis in nine patients (ten hips) out of 165 patients (169 hips) who had been managed with total hip replacements using a contemporary metal-on-metal hip design and investigated the possible etiologic role of metal hypersensitivity. The nine patients who had an osteolytic lesion had a significantly higher prevalence of hypersensitivity to cobalt, as determined by patch testing, when compared to nine controls (p = 0.031). The retrieved periprosthetic tissues from the two revised hips showed no evidence of metallic staining, but microscopic analysis revealed a perivascular accumulation of CD3-positive T-cells and CD68-positive macrophages, and an absence of both particle-laden macrophages and polymorphonuclear cells. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that potent bone-resorbing cytokines such as IL-1β and TNF-α were produced mainly by infiltrated lymphocytes and activated macrophages. These findings raise the possibility that early osteolysis in this second-generation metal-on-metal hip replacement is associated with abnormalities consistent with delayed-type hypersensitivity to metal.


Osteolytic Lesion Cobalt Chloride Nickel Sulfate Periprosthetic Tissue Metal Hypersensitivity 
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© Steinkopff Verlag, Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. -S. Park
  • Y. -W. Moon
  • S. -J. Lim

There are no affiliations available

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