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Ionogran in revision arthroplasty

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Glass ionomer cement (Ionocem) was developed for use in bone surgery and is reported to be notably biocompatible. Between 1991 and 1994 we performed revision operations for aseptic loosening of arthroplasties of the hip on 45 patients using this material in its granulate form (Ionogran) mixed with homologous bone as a bone substitute. Of these 45 patients, 42 were followed up for a mean of 42 months. Early reloosening of the acetabular component has occurred in ten after a mean of 30 months. Histological examination showed large deposits of aluminium in the adjacent connective tissue and bone. Osteoblastic function and bone mineralisation were clearly inhibited. The serum levels of aluminium were also increased. The toxic damage at the bone interface caused by high local levels of aluminium must be seen as an important factor in the high rate of early reloosening. Our findings cast doubt on the biocompatibility of this material and we do not recommend continuation of its further use in orthopaedic surgery.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr E. Engelbrecht.

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