Modular junction may be more problematic than bearing wear in metal-on-metal total hip arthroplastyVendittoli, P.-A., Massé, V., Kiss, M.-O., Lusignan, D., & Lavigne, M. (2019).
In total hip arthroplasty (THA), local adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD) may be caused by abnormal metal ion release from a metal-on-metal (MoM) bearing, or by wear and corrosion of the implant’s modular junction. The aim of this study was to compare ion levels and rate of ARMD between patients sharing the same MoM bearing but 1 group having monoblock stems versus another having modular stems.
Materials and methods:
Whole blood cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) ion concentrations, ARMD rate, revision rate, and function measured by UCLA and WOMAC scores were compared between groups.
ARMD rate was significantly higher in the modular group (46%) compared with the monoblock group (16%, p = 0.031). Revision for ARMD was performed at 52.8 ± 8.1 months in the modular group versus 98.2 ± 15.5 months after primary THA in the monoblock group. ARMD originated from wear and corrosion of the junction between stem and femoral head adapter sleeve in all monoblock cases, and the junction between stem and modular neck in all the modular ones. Cr and Co ions levels were significantly higher in the modular stem group (p < 0.001 for both).
Although both groups had MoM bearings, corrosion at stem/neck or neck/head junctions combining dissimilar metal (Ti and Cr-Co) was seen as the source of excess metal ions release leading to ARMD. Poor performance of the modular junction may be more deleterious than wear of the bearing. To avoid such complications, THA femoral stem modular junctions should be eliminated (return to a full monoblock implant) or have improved junction design.