Cup inclination angle of greater than 50 degrees increases whole blood concentrations of cobalt and chromium ions after metal-on-metal hip resurfacing

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ABSTRACT:A cup inclination angle greater than 45 degrees is associated with increased wear rates of metal on polyethylene (MOP) hip replacements. The same maybe true for metal on metal (MOM) hips yet this has not been clearly shown. We measured the acetabular inclination angle from plain radiographs, and whole blood metal ion levels using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry of 26 patients (mean Harris Hip Score 94 and mean time post op of 22 months) with Birmingham Hip Resurfacings.We identified a threshold level of 50° cup inclination. Below this threshold, the mean whole blood cobalt and chromium were 1.6ppb and 1.88ppb respectively; above this threshold, the mean blood cobalt and chromium were 4.45ppb and 4.3ppb respectively. These differences were significant cobalt (p<0.01) and chromium (p=0.01). All patients above the threshold had metal levels greater than any of the patients below the threshold. For 14 patients, who returned one year later for a repeat blood metal level measurement, cobalt and chromium levels were very similar.The effect of an acetabular inclination angle of greater than 50 degrees on wear rates of MOM hips, as measured through blood metal ion levels, appears to be similar to that seen with MOP hips. Additionally, our new analytical methods may allow blood metal levels to be used as a realistic biomarker of in vivo wear rate of MOM hips. The implication is that metal levels can be minimised with optimal orientation of the acetabular component. (Hip International 2008; 18: 212-9)

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