The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 10, 2434 - 2438

Pseudotumors and High-Grade Aseptic Lymphocyte-Dominated Vasculitis-Associated Lesions Around Total Knee Replacements Identified at Aseptic Revision Surgery: Findings of a Large-Scale Histologic Review

Kurmis, Andrew P. et al.


Aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion (ALVAL) development (including pseudotumors) secondary to metal debris generation around total hip arthroplasties is a well-recognized histopathologic phenomenon. Emerging data have highlighted a similar potential concern around TKAs although the body-of-knowledge has largely been limited to individual case reports or small retrospective case series. This study sought to establish the prevalence of pseudotumors or high-grade ALVALs seen at the revision of primary TKAs and to establish the correlation between histologic ALVAL grade and patient-reported functional outcome measures.


The findings of 321 non-infective (aseptic) patients undergoing unilateral revision knee surgery, at a high-volume tertiary referral center, were reviewed. Each case was independently histologically classified. Complete patient-reported functional outcome measures were available for 134 patients (42%) allowing correlation between functional performance and histopathology results.


Five distinct pseudotumors and a further 18 high-grade ALVALs were histologically identified representing 1.6% and 5.6% of the cohort, respectively. When compared by histologic grade, Oxford Knee Score and Western Ontario and McMaster University’s Osteoarthritis Index suggested a high correlation between ALVAL grade and functional knee scores.


These findings suggest a prevalence of pseudotumors or high-grade ALVALs at revision TKA surgery of >7%. This unexpectedly high result may contribute insight into the previously under-appreciated significance of metal debris-related local tissue reactions around TKAs. The findings also demonstrate a strong near-linear inverse relationship between patient-reported clinical knee performance and the underlying histologic grade of local tissue reaction. These results have potential management implications for patients with underperforming TKAs and should prompt consideration of an ALVAL secondary to metallosis in the differential diagnosis.

Level of Evidence

This is a retrospective cohort study with Level III evidence.

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