Mid-term changes in blood metal ion levels after Articular Surface Replacement arthroplasty of the hip

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Our first aim was to determine whether there are significant changes in the level of metal ions in the blood at mid-term follow-up, in patients with an Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) arthroplasty. Secondly, we sought to identify risk factors for any increases.

Patients and Methods

The study involved 435 patients who underwent unilateral, metal-on-metal (MoM) hip resurfacing (HRA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA). These patients all had one measurement of the level of metal ions in the blood before seven years had passed post-operatively (early evaluation) and one after seven years had passed post-operatively (mid-term evaluation). Changes in ion levels were tested using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. We identified subgroups at the highest risk of increase using a multivariable linear logistic regression model.


There were significant increases in the levels of metal ions for patients who underwent both MoM HRA (Chromium (Cr): 0.5 parts per billion (ppb); Cobalt (Co): 1.1 ppb) and MoM THA (Cr: 0.5 ppb; Co: 0.7 ppb). In a multivariable model considering MoM HRAs, the change in the levels of metal ions was influenced by female gender (Co: Odds Ratio (OR) 1.42; p = 0.002 and Cr: OR 1.08; p = 0.006). The change was found to be irrespective of the initial level for the MoM HRAs, whereas there was a negative relationship between the initial level and the change in the level for those with a MoM THA (Co: OR -0.43; p < 0.001 and Cr: OR -0.14; p = 0.033).


The levels of metal ions in the blood increase significantly over the period until mid-term follow-up in patients with both a MoM HRA and those with a MoM THA. We recommend that the levels of metal ions be measured most frequently for women with a MoM HRA. While those with a MoM THA appear to stabilise at a certain level, the accuracy of this trend is not yet clear. Vigilant follow-up is still recommended.

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