Do cobalt and chromium levels predict osteolysis in metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasty?
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Serum metal ions are part of the regular follow-up routine of patients with metal-on-metal total hip arthroplasties (MoM-THA). Increased cobalt levels have been suggested to indicate implant failure and corrosion.
(1) Is there a correlation between the size of the osteolysis measured on a CT scan and metal ion levels? (2) Can metal ion levels predict the presence of osteolysis in MoM-THA? (3) Are cobalt and chromium serum levels or the cobalt-chromium-ratio diagnostic for osteolysis?
Materials and methods
CT scans of patients (n = 75) with a unilateral MoM-THA (Birmingham Hip System, Smith & Nephew, TN, USA) implanted by a single surgeon were reviewed to determine the presence of osteolysis. Statistical analysis was performed to detect its association with metal ion levels at the time of the imaging exam.
The incidence of osteolysis was the same in men and women (35.6 vs 35.7 %). The cobalt-chromium-ratio correlates with the size of the osteolysis on the CT scan and the femoral component size in the overall study population (p = 0.050, p = 0.001) and in men (p = 0.002, p = 0.001) but not in women (p = 0.312, p = 0.344). The AUC for the cobalt-chromium-ratio to detect osteolysis was 0.613 (p = 0.112) for the overall population, 0.710 for men (p = 0.021) and 0.453 (p = 0.684) for women. The data suggest that a cut off level of 1.71 for the cobalt-chromium-ratio has a sensitivity of 62.5 % and specificity of 72.4 % to identify male patients with osteolysis.
The disproportional increase of cobalt over chromium, especially in male patients with large component sizes can not be explained by wear alone and suggests that other processes (corrosion) might contribute to metal ion levels and might be more pronounced in patients with larger component sizes.
KeywordsMetal ions Total hip arthroplasty Osteolysis Metal-on-metal CT scan
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
We certify that we have not signed any agreement with commercial interest related to this study, which would in any way limit publication of any and all data generated for the study or to delay publication for any reason. The senior author reports personal fees from Smith & Nephew, personal fees from Ortho Development Corporation and personal fees form Depuy, outside the submitted work.
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