International Orthopaedics

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1321–1328 | Cite as

Aggressive granulomatosis of the hip: a forgotten mode of aseptic failure

  • Pablo Ariel Isidoro SlullitelEmail author
  • Rodrigo Brandariz
  • Jose Ignacio Oñativia
  • German Farfalli
  • Fernando Comba
  • Francisco Piccaluga
  • Martin Buttaro
Original Paper



It has been acknowledged that implant wear correlates with the risk for periprosthetic osteolysis, being aggressive granulomatosis the worst expression of bone resorption. We sought to determine the clinical, radiological, and histological features of aggressive granulomatosis after primary total hip arthroplasty (THA).


We included nine cases with aggressive granulomatosis of the hip around cemented stems. Indications for revision THA consisted of progressive signs of extensive bone resorption or implant loosening. Mean follow-up since revision THA was 143 months (SD ± 59.4). We analysed clinical outcomes, component loosening and gross as well as histological characteristics of the granulomatous lesions.


Overall mean time between primary THA and revision surgery was 81 months (SD ± 20.8). All of the cases evidenced multiple ovoid tumour-like lesions around the stem with extensive bone loss. Only one case reported thigh pain before revision surgery, with radiological evidence of stem loosening; the remaining cases were asymptomatic with well-fixed implants. Gross anatomy findings revealed metallosis in the femoral canal and inside the cystic lesions. Pathology analysis showed monocyte-macrophage-dominated adverse foreign-body-type tissue reaction with fibroblastic reactive zones and granulomatous inflammation.


We found a prevalence of 1% of this aseptic mode of implant failure. Since most of the retrieved stems were not loose, we did not find any alarming clinical symptoms anticipating implant failure. In this scenario, surgeons should be aware of the rapidly progressive nature of this entity and propose a revision THA in a timely fashion.


Aggressive granulomatosis Total hip arthroplasty Osteolysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Each author certifies that he has no commercial associations (e.g., consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc.) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article. No funding/grant was received for the development of this research. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. Each author certifies that his institution has approved the human protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hip Surgery Unit, Italian Hospital of Buenos AiresInstitute of Orthopaedics “Carlos E. Ottolenghi”Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Division of Musculoskeletal Oncology, Italian Hospital of Buenos AiresInstitute of Orthopaedics “Carlos E. Ottolenghi”Buenos AiresArgentina

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