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Revision for adverse local tissue reaction following metal-on-polyethylene total hip arthroplasty is associated with a high risk of early major complications

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Fretting and corrosion at the modular head/neck junction, known as trunnionosis, in total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a cause of adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD). We describe the outcome of revision of metal-on-polyethylene (MoP) THA for ARMD due to trunnionosis with emphasis on the risk of major complications.

Patients and Methods

A total of 36 patients with a MoP THA who underwent revision for ARMD due to trunnionosis were identified. Three were excluded as their revision had been to another metal head. The remaining 33 were revised to a ceramic head with a titanium sleeve. We describe the presentation, revision findings, and risk of complications in these patients.


The patients presented with pain, swelling, stiffness, or instability and an inflammatory mass was confirmed radiologically. Macroscopic material deposition on the trunnion was seen in all patients, associated with ARMD. Following revision, six (18.2%) dislocated, requiring further revision in four. Three (9.1%) developed a deep infection and six (18.2%) had significant persistent pain without an obvious cause. One developed a femoral artery thrombosis after excision of an iliofemoral pseudotumor, requiring a thrombectomy.


The risk of serious complications following revision MoP THA for ARMD associated with trunnionosis is high. In the presence of extensive tissue damage, a constrained liner or dual mobility construct is recommended in these patients.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:720–4.

Correspondence should be sent to M. R. Whitehouse; email:

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