Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: June 2018 - Volume 476 - Issue 6 - p 1231–1237 doi: 10.1007/s11999.0000000000000209 SYMPOSIUM: 6th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF ARTHROPLASTY REGISTRIES

What Is the Long-term Survival for Primary THA With Small-head Metal-on-metal Bearings?

de Steiger, Richard, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA; Peng, Andrea, MMed (Epi & Stats); Lewis, Peter, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthA; Graves, Stephen, MBBS, PhD, FRACS, FAOrthA

Background Large-head metal-on-metal (MoM) bearing hip replacements have been shown to have a much higher rate of revision than other bearing surfaces. However, small-head (≤ 32 mm) MoM bearing surfaces have been in use for many years with several reports of satisfactory mid- to long-term survivorship. It is unclear whether the long-term survival of small-head MoM devices will continue to be satisfactory or whether the same concerns seen with the large-head MoM devices will ultimately become more prevalent.


Questions/purposes We analyzed a large national registry to ask: (1) What is the 15-year Kaplan-Meier survivorship of primary conventional THA using small-head (≤ 32 mm) MoM bearing surfaces compared with large-head MoM bearing surfaces in primary THA? (2) Is there an increased rate of revision for adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD) in this group of patients over time?


Methods The Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry longitudinally maintains data on all primary and revision joint arthroplasties with nearly 100% capture. We analyzed all conventional primary THAs performed from Registry inception in September 1999 until December 31, 2015, in patients with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis and using MoM bearing surfaces ≤ 32 mm in diameter, defined as small-head MoM. The study group included 4838 primary THA with ≤ 32-mm MoM bearing surfaces. There were 2506 (51.8%) male patients and the median age of patients undergoing THA with a small-head MoM bearing surface was 64 years (range, 20-92 years of age). The outcome measure was the cumulative percent revision defined as the time to first revision using Kaplan-Meier estimates of survivorship at 15 years; reasons for revision and type of revision were also examined. We specifically investigated whether there was an increased risk of revision for ARMD in this MoM group compared with all other bearing surfaces. We compared these results with large-head MoM THAs (femoral head size > 32 mm).


Results The cumulative percent revision for small-head MoM designs at 15 years was 8.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.3-9.9). The cumulative percent revision for large-head MoM at 14 years was 27.4% (95% CI, 24.8-30.2). Prostheses with a large-head MoM articulation have a higher rate of revision than small-head MoM bearing surfaces (hazard ratio after 6 years, 5.14; 95% CI, 4.1-6.5; p < 0.001). Over time, there was a gradual increase in the diagnosis of ARMD for small-head MoM and the cumulative incidence of revision for ARMD was 0.8% at 15 years.


Conclusions Despite survival that is substantially greater than that of large-head MoM THAs, there has been a marked decrease in the use of small-head MoM designs in our registry. Although the reasons for this are likely multifactorial, the increasing incidence of revisions for ARMD among small-head MoM THAs is concerning.


Level of Evidence: Level III, therapeutic study.

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