© 2008 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res

Serum ion levels after ceramic‐on‐ceramic and metal‐on‐metal total hip arthroplasty: 8‐year minimum follow‐up

Lucia Savarino Giovanni Padovani Massimo Ferretti Michelina Greco Elisabetta Cenni Giorgio Perrone Francesco Greco Nicola Baldini Armando Giunti

Alternative bearing surfaces for total hip arthroplasty, such as metal‐on‐metal and ceramic‐on‐ceramic, offer the potential to reduce mechanical wear and osteolysis. In the short and medium term, the second generation of metal‐on‐metal bearings demonstrated high systemic metal ion levels, whereas ceramic‐on‐ceramic bearings showed the lowest ones. We aimed to verify whether the long‐term ion release in metal‐on‐metal subjects was still relevant at a median 10‐year follow‐up, and whether a fretting process at the modular junctions occurred in ceramic‐on‐ceramic patients and induced an ion dissemination. Serum levels were measured in 32 patients with alumina‐on‐alumina implants (group A), in 16 subjects with metal‐on‐metal implants (group B), and in 47 healthy subjects (group C). Group B results were compared with medium‐term findings. Cobalt and chromium levels were significantly higher in metal‐on‐metal implants than in ceramic‐on‐ceramic ones and controls. Nevertheless, ion levels showed a tendency to decrease in comparison with medium‐term content. In ceramic‐on‐ceramic implants, ion values were not significantly different from controls. Both in groups A and B, aluminum and titanium release were not significantly different from controls. In conclusion, negligible serum metal ion content was revealed in ceramic‐on‐ceramic patients. On the contrary, due to the higher ion release, metal‐on‐metal coupling must be prudently considered, especially in young patients, in order to obtain definitive conclusions.

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