Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Metal degradation products: a cause for concern in metal-metal bearings? (Ion toxicity 9 of 14)

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2003 Dec;(417):139-47.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush Medical College, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


In the majority of patients, orthopaedic implants are biocompatible. However, there is an increasing recognition that, in the long-term, permanent orthopaedic implants may be associated with adverse local and remote tissue responses in some individuals. These adverse effects are mediated by the degradation products of implant materials. The recent reintroduction of metal-on-metal bearings for total hip arthroplasty has heightened concerns about the biologic response to metal degradation products in light of the fact that the serum and urine metal concentrations in patients with these implants typically are higher than those seen in patients with conventional metal-on-polyethylene bearings. From previous studies of long-term metal-on-metal McKee-Farrar implants, it seems that these elevated levels may persist for the duration of the implant's lifetime. This is of particular concern in the younger and more active patient in whom life expectancy after implantation may exceed 30 years. The association of metal release from orthopaedic implants with any metabolic, bacteriologic, immunologic, or carcinogenic toxicity currently remains conjectural because cause and effect have not been established in human subjects. However, continued surveillance of patient populations with metal implants, particularly those with metal-metal bearings, is warranted.

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