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Corrosion of modular hip prostheses

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Nine uncemented hip prostheses of modular design were revised because of late infection (2 cases), femoral stem loosening or fracture (2), loosening of threaded cups (3) and protrusion of bipolar cups (2). At surgery we found tissue discoloration and macroscopic corrosion in four of the nine prostheses, located at the head-neck junction. Histological examination in most cases showed extensive necrosis associated with metal particles, indicating metal toxicity. Metallographic examination of the prosthetic heads revealed structural imperfections and inhomogeneity of the metal. We suggest that the crevice between the head and neck is a potential site of corrosion in modular designs.

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