Acta Orthopaedica, 87:4, 401-405, DOI: 10.1080/17453674.2016.1188346

Ballooning osteolysis in 71 failed total ankle arthroplasties

Gurpal Singh, Theresa Reichard, Rita Hameister, Friedemann Awiszus, Katja Schenk, Bernd Feuerstein, Albert Roessner & Christoph Lohmann

Background and purpose — Aseptic loosening is a major cause of failure in total ankle arthroplasty (TAA). In contrast to other total joint replacements, large periarticular cysts (ballooning osteolysis) have frequently been observed in this context. We investigated periprosthetic tissue responses in failed TAA, and performed an element analysis of retrieved tissues in failed TAA.

Patients and methods — The study cohort consisted of 71 patients undergoing revision surgery for failed TAA, all with hydroxyapatite-coated implants. In addition, 5 patients undergoing primary TAA served as a control group. Radiologically, patients were classified into those with ballooning osteolysis and those without, according to defined criteria. Histomorphometric, immunohistochemical, and elemental analysis of tissues was performed. Von Kossa staining and digital microscopy was performed on all tissue samples.

Results — Patients without ballooning osteolysis showed a generally higher expression of lymphocytes, and CD3+, CD11c+, CD20+, and CD68+ cells in a perivascular distribution, compared to diffuse expression. The odds of having ballooning osteolysis was 300 times higher in patients with calcium content >0.5 mg/g in periprosthetic tissue than in patients with calcium content ≤0.5 mg/g (p < 0.001).

Interpretation — There have been very few studies investigating the pathomechanisms of failed TAA and the cause-effect nature of ballooning osteolysis in this context. Our data suggest that the hydroxyapatite coating of the implant may be a contributory factor.

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