Modern metal-on-metal bearings produce less wear debris and osteolysis, but have the potential adverse effect of release of ions. Improved ceramic-on-ceramic bearings have the lowest wear of all, but the corrosion process has not been analysed. Our aim was to measure the serum ion release (ng/ml) in 23 patients having stable hip prostheses with a ceramic-on-ceramic coupling (group A) and to compare it with the release in 42 patients with a metal-on-metal bearing (group B) in the medium term. Reference values were obtained from a population of 47 healthy subjects (group C). The concentrations of chromium, cobalt, aluminium and titanium were measured. There was a significant increase of cobalt, chromium and aluminium levels (p < 0.05) in group B compared with groups A and C. Group A did not differ significantly from the control group. Despite the apparent advantage of a metal-on-metal coupling, especially in younger patients with a long life expectancy, a major concern arises regarding the extent and duration of ion exposure. For this reason, the low corrosion level in a ceramic-on-ceramic coupling could be advantageous.
The Bone & Joint Journal 04/2006; 88(4):472-6. DOI:10.1302/0301-620X.88B4.17333 · 2.80 Impact Factor