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World J Orthop. 2016 May 18;7(5):272-9. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v7.i5.272. eCollection 2016 May 18.

Management of metal-on-metal hip implant patients: Who, when and how to revise?

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Reshid Berber, John A Skinner, Alister J Hart, Joint Reconstruction Unit, Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London HA7 4LP, United Kingdom.


The debate on how best to manage patients with metal-on-metal (MOM) hip implants continues. With over 1 million patients affected worldwide, the impact is far reaching. The majority of the aggressive failures of MOM hip implants have been dealt with by revision hip surgery, leaving patients with a much more indolent pattern of failure of devices that have been in situ for more than 10 years. The longer-term outcome for such patients remains unknown, and much debate exists on how best to manage these patients. Regulatory guidance is available but remains open to interpretation due to the lack of current evidence and long-term studies. Metal ion thresholds for concern have been suggested at 7 ppb for hip resurfacing arthroplasty and below this level for large diameter total hip arthroplasties. Soft tissue changes including pseudotumours and muscle atrophy have been shown to progress, but this is not consistent. New advanced imaging techniques are helping to diagnose complications with metal hips and the reasons for failure, however these are not widely available. This has led to some centres to tackle difficult cases through multidisciplinary collaboration, for both surgical management decisions and also follow-up decisions. We summarise current evidence and consider who is at risk, when revision should be undertaken and how patients should be managed.


Decision; Management; Metal on metal hip; Multi-disciplinary; Revision

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