Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:1018–24.

A comparison of the effect of large and small metal-on-metal bearings in total hip arthroplasty on metal ion levels and the incidence of pseudotumour

W. Ando, H. Yasui, K. Yamamoto, K. Oinuma, H. Tokunaga, Y. Inaba, N. Kobayashi, M. Aihara, R. Nakanishi, K. Ohzono


The purpose of this study was to compare two different types of metal-on-metal (MoM) bearing for total hip arthroplasty (THA): one with a large femoral head (38 mm to 52 mm) and the other with a conventional femoral head (28 mm or 32 mm). We compared clinical outcome, blood metal ion levels, and the incidence of pseudotumour in the two groups.

Patients and Methods

Between December 2009 and December 2011, 62 patients underwent MoM THA with a large femoral head (Magnum group) and 57 patients an MoM THA with a conventional femoral head (conventional group). Clinical outcome was assessed using the Harris Hip score, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) activity score and EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D). Blood metal ion levels were measured and MRI scans were analyzed at a minimum of five years postoperatively.


No acetabular component was implanted with more than 50° of inclination in either group. The Harris Hip Score, UCLA activity score, and EQ-5D improved postoperatively in both groups; no significant clinical differences were noted between the groups. The blood cobalt ion levels in the conventional group continued to rise postoperatively to five years while reaching a plateau at two years postoperatively in the Magnum group. At five years, the mean cobalt ion level of 1.16 μg/l (sd 1.32) in the Magnum group was significantly lower than the 3.77 μg/l (sd 9.80) seen in the conventional group (p = 0.0015). The incidence of moderate to severe pseudotumour was 4.7% in the Magnum group and 20.6% in the conventional group. There were no dislocations in the Magnum group and two in the conventional group. One patient in the Magnum group underwent revision for pseudotumour at 4.7 years postoperatively.


At five years, a well-positioned large head MoM THA has a significantly lower level of metal ion release and a lower incidence of moderate to severe pseudotumour than a MoM bearing of conventional size.

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