The Hip Society: Algorithmic approach to diagnosis and management of metal-on-metal arthroplasty

A. V. Lombardi, R. L. Barrack, K. R. Berend, J. M. Cuckler, J. J. Jacobs, M. A. Mont, T. P. Schmalzried

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Since 1996 more than one million metal-on-metal articulations have been implanted worldwide. Adverse reactions to metal debris are escalating. Here we present an algorithmic approach to patient management. The general approach to all arthroplasty patients returning for follow-up begins with a detailed history, querying for pain, discomfort or compromise of function. Symptomatic patients should be evaluated for intra-articular and extra-articular causes of pain. In large head MoM arthroplasty, aseptic loosening may be the source of pain and is frequently difficult to diagnose. Sepsis should be ruled out as a source of pain. Plain radiographs are evaluated to rule out loosening and osteolysis, and assess component position. Laboratory evaluation commences with erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein, which may be elevated. Serum metal ions should be assessed by an approved facility. Aspiration, with manual cell count and culture/sensitivity should be performed, with cloudy to creamy fluid with predominance of monocytes often indicative of failure. Imaging should include ultrasound or metal artifact reduction sequence MRI, specifically evaluating for fluid collections and/or masses about the hip. If adverse reaction to metal debris is suspected then revision to metal or ceramic-on-polyethylene is indicated and can be successful. Delay may be associated with extensive soft-tissue damage and hence poor clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Volume94 B
Issue number11 SUPPL.A
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


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