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The primary aim of this independent prospective randomised trial was to compare serum metal ion levels for ceramic-on-metal (CoM) and metal-on-metal (MoM) bearing surfaces in total hip arthroplasty (THA). Our one-year results demonstrated elevation in metal ion levels above baseline with no significant difference between the CoM and MoM groups. This paper reviews the five-year data.The implants used in each patient differed only in respect to the type of femoral head (ceramic or metal). At five-year follow-up of the 83 enrolled patients, data from 67 (36 CoM, 31 MoM) was available for comparison.The mean serum cobalt (Co) and chromium (Cr) ion levels remained above baseline in both groups (CoM: Co 1.16 μg/l (0.41 to 14.67), Cr 1.05 μg/l (0.16 to 12.58); MoM: Co 2.93 μg/l (0.35 to 30.29), Cr 1.85 μg/l (0.36 to 17.00)) but the increase was significantly less in the CoM cohort (Co difference p = 0.001, Cr difference p = 0.002). These medium-term results, coupled with lower revision rates from national joint registries, suggest that the performance of CoM THA may be superior to that of MoM.While both bearing combinations have since been withdrawn these results provide useful information for planning clinical surveillance of CoM THAs and warrants continued monitoring.