Metal-on-Metal Total Hip Arthroplasty: Patient Evaluation and Treatment

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Metal-on-metal (MoM) hip articulations were thought to represent a biologic and biomechanically favorable alternative to conventional metal-on-polyethylene total hip arthroplasty implants. However, concerns emerged when registry data reported significantly higher failure rates associated with MoM implants compared with other contemporary hip implants. These high implant failure rates have been attributed to the release of metal particles into the periprosthetic space, creating macroscopic necrosis; corrosive osteolysis; large, sterile hip effusions; and periprosthetic solid and cystic masses (ie, pseudotumors)—a spectrum of findings termed adverse reaction to metal debris. A thorough clinical history and physical examination, along with laboratory data and imaging surveillance of these patients, is critical for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The decision to perform revision hip arthroplasty of a metal-on-metal implant is multifactorial and should be based on documented, objective clinical indications. A systematic and objective approach to this evaluation and treatment is essential to optimize the care of patients who undergo total hip arthroplasty with MoM implants.

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