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J Arthroplasty. 2012 Feb;27(2):324.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2011.02.025. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Metal transfer on a ceramic head with a single rim contact.

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Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.


A notable feature of retrieved ceramic-on-ceramic hips is metal transfer on the femoral head, which is an important alteration of the bearing surface. This report documents metal transfer streaks on a ceramic femoral head resulting from discrete subluxations, which occurred intraoperatively during reduction and stability testing. An important implication is that metal transfer can occur whenever a femoral head is reduced into the liner during surgery or from in vivo subluxation/dislocation. If a ceramic liner is recessed below a raised metal rim, care should be taken to prevent head-to-rim contact during intraoperative reductions and stability testing. If metal transfer occurs during final surgical reduction of the hip, its presence may remain undetected, and detrimental effects are present from the time of surgery.

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