HSS Journal ®

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 99–105 | Cite as

The Infection Rate of Metal-on-Metal Total Hip Replacement Is Higher When Compared to Other Bearing Surfaces as Documented by the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry

  • Phil HuangEmail author
  • Matt Lyons
  • Michael O’Sullivan
Original Article



Despite the well-documented decline in the use of metal-on-metal (MoM) implants over the last decade, there are still controversies regarding whether all MoM implants are created equally. Complications such as elevated serum metal ion levels, aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion (ALVAL) and pseudotumours have all been well documented, but recent studies suggest increased risk of infection with MoM bearing surfaces. Most of these studies however have small patient numbers.


The purpose of this study was to examine the cumulative incidence of revision for infection of MoM bearing surfaces in primary hip arthroplasty at a national and single-surgeon level.


Data was collected from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry, which contains over 98% of all arthroplasties performed in Australia since 2001. The cumulative incidence of revision for infection was extracted at a national level and single-surgeon level.


Two hundred seventy-six thousand eight hundred seventy-eight subjects were documented in the Australian registry. The 10-year cumulative percent revision for infection of MoM bearing surfaces in primary total hip replacement (THR) was 2.5% at a national level, compared to 0.8% for other bearing surfaces. The senior author contributed 1755 subjects with 7-year follow-up and a cumulative percent revision for infection of MoM bearing surfaces in primary THR of 36.9%, compared to 2.0% for other bearing surfaces. The cumulative percent of revision of MoM bearing surfaces is higher compared to other bearing surfaces; this is especially pronounced in cumulative percent of revision for infection.


There was a higher cumulative percent of revision for infection in MoM bearings surfaces (in particular, large-head MoM) compared to other bearing surfaces at both the national and individual-surgeon level.


metal on metal infection risk Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry increased risk of revision surgery large-head metal on metal 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Phil Huang, BEng, MBBS, M-Phil CANTAB; Matt Lyons, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA; and Michael O’Sullivan, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA, have declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Human/Animal Rights

The study was approved by the Commonwealth of Australia as a Declaration of Quality Assurance Activity under section 124X of the Health Insurance Act, 1973. All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2013.

Informed Consent


Required Author Forms

Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the online version of this article.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Hospital for Special Surgery 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mater HospitalNorth SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.North Sydney Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine CentreNorth SydneyAustralia

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