Sensitivity to titanium. A cause of implant failure?

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1991 Jan;73(1):25-8. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.73B1.1991768.


Tissues from five patients who underwent revision operations for failed total hip replacements were found to contain large quantities of particulate titanium. In four cases this metal must have come from titanium alloy screws used to fix the acetabular component; in the fifth case it may also have originated from a titanium alloy femoral head. Monoclonal antibody labelling showed abundant macrophages and T-lymphocytes, in the absence of B-lymphocytes, suggesting sensitisation to titanium. Skin patch testing with dilute solutions of titanium salts gave negative results in all five patients. However, two of them had a positive skin test to a titanium-containing ointment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bone Screws
  • Hip Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Macrophages / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Reoperation
  • Skin Tests
  • T-Lymphocytes / ultrastructure
  • Titanium / adverse effects*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Titanium