Metallic debris in femoral endosteolysis in failed cemented total hip arthroplasties

M. H. Huo, E. A. Salvati, J. R. Lieberman, F. Betts, M. Bansal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


A prospective study was undertaken to quantitate metallic and cement debris in 12 consecutive patients with femoral endosteolysis (FE) and aseptic loosening of a cemented total hip arthroplasty. The mean interval between primary and revision surgery was 9.6 years. The average time to onset of FE was 8.9 years. There were four stems each of cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr), stainless steel (SS), and titanium alloy. At revision, tissue was retrieved from FE, the femoral bone-cement pseudomembrane, and the joint pseudocapsule. Histology of these tissues was studied using light and polarized microscopy. Metal and barium levels were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. A histiocytic reaction and particulate cement debris were seen in every case. Polyethylene wear debris was noted in 11 of 12 cases (92%), and metallic debris in four cases (33%). Detectable metal levels were found in the FE in all cases. Metal levels were on average 2.5 times higher in FE than in femoral pseudomembrane, and 4.2 times higher than in joint pseudocapsule. This difference was statistically significant for the Co-Cr and SS groups. Barium levels in areas of FE were on average 1.7 times and 42.4 times higher than in femoral pseudomembrane and joint pseudocapsule, respectively. The difference seen between the FE and the joint pseudocapsule tissue was significant for all three alloy groups. The authors' data demonstrated higher metal and barium levels in FE than in the other tissue sites. Polyethylene and cement debris were noted in nearly every case. Cement, polyethylene, and metallic particulate wear debris may contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of FE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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