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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2017 Jan;105(1):155-164. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33540. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Clinical relevance of corrosion patterns attributed to inflammatory cell-induced corrosion: A retrieval study.

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Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, University College London and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, United Kingdom.


In vitro studies have shown that human osteoclasts can corrode stainless steel and titanium leading to the production of metal ions responsible for inflammatory reactions. Moreover, traces of cellular activities on metal orthopaedic explants have recently been reported as inflammatory cell-induced (ICI) corrosion being the result of the cells sealing on the metal surfaces and releasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) through Fenton-like reactions. The extent and clinical relevance of this phenomenon has yet to be understood. We analysed a cohort of 100 CoCr alloy hips collected at our retrieval centre; we performed macroscopic and microscopic screening and used statistical analysis to correlate our findings with implant and clinical variables. We found that 59% of our implants had evidence of surface damage consistent with what has previously been described as cell-induced corrosion. There was a significant association between the patterns and aseptic loosening for the ASR modular (r = -0.488, p = 0.016) and the Durom modular (r = 0.454, p = 0.026). This is the largest implant retrieval study to examine the phenomena of so-called ICI corrosion and is the first to investigate its clinical relevance. We recommend further work to determine the role of cells in the damage patterns observed.


CoCr; cell; corrosion; inflammation; orthopaedic implants

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