The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 34 , Issue 3 , 534 - 537

Serum Metal Ion Levels in Cementless Metal-On-Metal Total Hip Arthroplasty: Long-Term Follow-Up Trends

Kim, Chul-Ho et al.


Long-term trends in serum metal ion concentration after metal-on-metal (MoM) total hip arthroplasty (THA) are unclear. In most studies, serum metal ion levels increase initially and remain constant during follow-up. However, there are no previous studies that evaluate the metal ion level longitudinally at multiple intervals over the long term. Increasing metal ion levels during the long-term follow-up of patients who underwent cementless MoM THA has been seen, so this study investigated those trends.


Seventy-one patients were followed for a minimum of 10 years (range, 10.0-18.6 years). All underwent unilateral THA with MoM bearings. Serum cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) levels were measured preoperatively and annually after surgery. Trends and differences in serum levels based on sex, mean age, body mass index, cup inclination, and implant selection were analyzed.


Within 5 years after the operation, the mean Co and Cr levels peaked postoperatively at 3-4 years (4.14 and 6.89 μg/L, respectively). Between 5 and 10 years postoperatively, the serum levels showed 2 tendencies. One group (62) showed a constant range, but a smaller group (9) showed increasing serum metal ion levels. The only factor which showed a difference between the 2 groups was body mass index (P = .030), which was lower in the increasing serum metal ion level group.


At a medium-term to long-term follow-up period, serum Co and Cr levels are not always constant. This should be considered when seeing patients with MoM THA, and laboratory tests may be needed for long-term follow-up.

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