BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015 Dec 22;16:393. doi: 10.1186/s12891-015-0851-4.

Diagnostic utility of joint fluid metal ion measurement for histopathological findings in metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Reito A, Parkkinen J, Puolakka T, Pajamäki J, Eskelinen A.

BACKGROUND: In vivo assessment of inflammatory responses in the synovia of patients with MoM hip replacements would be useful in the determination of the prognosis of the hip replacement. Aims of the study was to investigate the correlation between cobalt and chrome levels in joint fluid with histopathological findings and the predictive ability of metal ion levels for these findings.

METHODS: In 163 revision surgeries (141 ASR THAs and 22 ASR hip resurfacings) joint fluid chrome and cobalt levels were assessed and histological analysis of synovial tissues was performed. Histological analysis included assessment of histiocytes, particle load, surface necrosis, lymphocyte cuffs and ALVAL-score.

RESULTS: Surface necrosis correlated positively with cobalt levels both in both groups. Neither chrome nor cobalt level had even fair discriminative ability to predict the presence or severity of any histological finding in the THA group. In the hip resurfacing group, cobalt level had good discriminative ability to predict the presence of perivascular lymphocytes and ALVAL-score of ≥ 7 whereas chrome had good discriminative ability to predict surface necrosis, metal particle load and ALVAL-score of ≥ 7.

CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of metal ion levels following joint fluid aspirate offers no relevant information with regard to histopathological findings in patients with large-diameter MoM THAs. Limited information may be gained from assessment of joint fluid metal ion levels in patients with hip resurfacings, but disadvantages of an aspirate must be carefully reviewed.

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