Total hip arthroplasty (THA) has been performed for nearly 50 years. Between 2006 and 2012, more than 600,000 metal-on-metal THA procedures were performed in the United States. This article reviews the production of metal wear debris in a metal-on-metal articulation and the interaction of cobalt and chromium ions that ultimately led to a dramatic decline in the use of metalon-metal THA articulations. Additionally, the article reviews mechanisms of metal wear, the biologic reaction to cobalt and chromium ions, the clinical presentation of failing metal-on-metal articulations, and current diagnostic strategies. Further, the article discusses the use of inflammatory markers, metal ion levels, radiographs, metal artifact reduction sequence magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound for failed metal-on-metal THA procedures. When adopting new technologies, orthopedic surgeons must weigh the potential increased benefits against the possibility of new mechanisms of failure. Metal-on-metal bearings are a prime example of the give and take between innovation and clinical results, especially in the setting of an already successful procedure such as THA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine