The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 8, 2546 - 2551

Ten-Year Cross-Sectional Study of Mechanically Assisted Crevice Corrosion in 1352 Consecutive Patients With Metal-on-Polyethylene Total Hip Arthroplasty

Hussey, Daniel K. et al.


Mechanically assisted crevice corrosion (MACC) in metal-on-polyethylene total hip arthroplasty (THA) is of concern, but its prevalence, etiology, and natural history are incompletely understood.


From January 2003 to December 2012, 1352 consecutive THA surgeries using a titanium stem, cobalt-chromium alloy femoral head, and highly cross-linked polyethylene liner from a single manufacturer were performed. Patients were followed at 1-year and 5-year intervals for surveillance, but also seen earlier if they had symptoms. Any patient with osteolysis >1 cm (n = 3) or unexplained pain (n = 85) underwent examination, radiographs, complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein, as well as tests for serum cobalt and chromium levels.


Symptomatic MACC was present in 43 of 1352 patients (3.2%). Prevalence of MACC by year of implant ranged from 0% (0 of 61, 2003; 0 of 138, 2005) to 10.5% (17 of 162; 2009). The M/L Taper stem had a greater prevalence (4.9%) of MACC than all other Zimmer (Zimmer, Inc, Warsaw, IN) 12/14 trunnion stem types combined (1.2%; P < .001). Twenty-seven of 43 (62.8%) patients have undergone revision surgery, and 16 of 43 (37.2%) patients have opted for ongoing surveillance. Comparing symptomatic THA patients with and without MACC, no demographic, clinical, or radiographic differences were found. MACC was significantly more common in 0 length femoral heads (compared with both −3.5 mm and +3.5 mm heads).


The prevalence of MACC in metal-on-polyethylene hips is higher in this cross-sectional study than previously reported. A significantly higher prevalence was found in patients with M/L Taper style stem and THA performed both in 2009 and also between 2009 and 2012 with this manufacturer.

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