Changes Seen in Lymph Nodes Draining the Sites of Large Joint Prostheses

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We report the histological findings seen in the lymph nodes draining the sites of large joint prostheses. Two patients underwent multiple prosthetic joint replacements. In one patient, the regional lymph nodes were enlarged during the revision of a total hip prosthesis, and a representative lymph node was resected. The other patient had undergone a pelvic lymph node dissection as part of a staging procedure for prostatic carcinoma. By light microscopy, the lymph nodes from both patients showed markedly dilated nodal sinuses filled with macrophages containing abundant eosinophilic, PAS-positive, granular material. Polarization microscopy revealed needle-like particles within the cytoplasm of the macrophages. We believe that the histological appearance of the lymph nodes represents a florid foreign body reaction to fragments of polyester or polyethylene derived from the articulating surfaces of the joint prostheses and transported to the regional lymph nodes via the lymphatic circulation. Sinus histiocytosis seen in the lymph nodes draining the sites of joint prostheses may resemble, and must be distinguished from, other conditions invoking a sinus pattern of lymphadenopathy, as well from benign and malignant diseases that involve the lymph nodes in a pattern mimicking sinus histiocytosis.

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