Adverse local tissue reaction arising from Corrosion at the femoral neck-body junction in a dual-taper stem with a cobalt-chromium modular neck

H. John Cooper, Robert M. Urban, Richard L. Wixson, R. Michael Meneghini, Joshua J. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

231 Scopus citations


Background: Femoral stems with dual-taper modularity were introduced to allow additional options for hip-center restoration independent of femoral fixation in total hip arthroplasty. Despite the increasing availability and use of these femoral stems, concerns exist about potential complications arising from the modular neck-body unction. Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective case series of twelve hips (eleven patients) with adverse local tissue reactions secondary to corrosion at the modular neck-body junction. The cohort included eight women and three men who together had an average age of 60.1 years (range, forty-three to seventy-seven years); ll hips were implanted with a titanium-alloy stem and cobalt-chromium-alloy neck. Patients presented with new-onset and increasing pain at a mean of 7.9 months (range, five to thirteen months) following total hip arthroplasty. After serum metal-ion studies and metal artifact reduction sequence (MARS) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed abnormal results, the patients underwent hip revision at a mean of 15.2 months (range, ten to twenty-three months). Tissue specimens were examined by a single histopathologist, and the retrieved implants were studied with use of light and scanning electron microscopy. Results: Serum metal levels demonstrated greater elevation of cobalt (mean, 6.0 ng/mL) than chromium (mean, 0.6 ng/mL) or titanium (mean, 3.4 ng/mL). MRI with use of MARS demonstrated adverse tissue reactions in eight of nine patients in which it was performed. All hips showed large soft-tissue masses and surrounding tissue damage with visible corrosion at the modular femoral neck-body junction. Available histology demonstrated large areas of tissue necrosis in seven of ten cases, while remaining viable capsular tissue showed a dense lymphocytic infiltrate. Microscopic analysis was consistent with fretting and crevice corrosion at the modular neck-body interface. Conclusions: Corrosion at the modular neck-body junction in dual-tapered stems with a modular cobalt-chromium-alloy femoral neck can lead to release of metal ions and debris resulting in local soft-tissue destruction. Adverse local tissue reaction should be considered as a potential cause for new-onset pain in patients with these components, and early revision should be considered given the potentially destructive nature of these reactions. A workup including serologic studies (erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein), serum metal levels, andMARSMRI can be helpful in establishing this diagnosis. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-872
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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