The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 9 , 3025 - 3029

Sensitivity and Specificity of Metal Ion Level in Predicting Adverse Local Tissue Reactions Due to Head-Neck Taper Corrosion in Primary Metal-on-Polyethylene Total Hip Arthroplasty

Kwon, Young-Min et al.


There is increasing concern regarding the occurrence of adverse local tissue reactions (ALTRs) in metal-on-polyethylene (MoP) total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients due to mechanically assisted crevice corrosion at the head-neck modular taper junction. The utility of metal ion levels in evaluating MoP patients with head-neck taper has not been fully characterized. This study aimed to investigate the sensitivity and specificity of serum metal ions as a predictor of ALTR in MoP THA patients.


A total of 62 MoP THA patients in 2 cohorts were investigated: (1) ALTR on metal artifact reduction sequence magnetic resonance imaging (n = 43) and (2) without ALTR on metal artifact reduction sequence magnetic resonance imaging (n = 19). Receiver-operating characteristic curve was constructed to determine the sensitivity and specificity using different metal ion thresholds and the optimal metal ion cutoff values.


The presence of ALTR was associated with significantly higher cobalt (8.9 ng/mL vs 0.3 ng/mL, P < .001), chromium (2.26 ng/mL vs 0.21 ng/mL, P < .001), and Co/Cr ratio (5.9 vs 2.0, P < .001). The sensitivity and specificity for cobalt (1 ng/mL) was 95% and 94% and for Co/Cr ratio (2) was 83% and 72%, respectively.


Although metal ion levels alone should not be relied on as the sole parameter to determine revision surgery, serum cobalt level of >1 ng/mL (1 ppb) and Co/Cr ratio >2 thresholds provide evidence-based practical information for surgeons when interpreting metal ion levels in MoP THA patients for clinically relevant head-neck taper corrosion.

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