The natural history of inflammatory pseudotumors in asymptomatic patients after metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Dec;471(12):3814-21. doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-2944-4.


Background: Although pseudotumors have been reported in 32% of asymptomatic metal-on-metal hips, the natural history of asymptomatic pseudotumors is unknown.

Questions/purposes: The purpose of this study was to assess changes over time in asymptomatic pseudotumors and the effect of revision on pseudotumor mass.

Methods: Followup ultrasound was performed a mean of 25.8 months (range, 21-31 months) after the detection of 15 pseudotumors and five isolated fluid collections in a cohort of 20 asymptomatic patients (13 metal-on-metal, three metal-on-polyethylene, and four hip resurfacings) [42]. Changes in pseudotumors and fluid collections size and nature, and serum ion levels were determined.

Results: Among the 15 nonrevised patients, pseudotumors increased in size in six (four solid and two cystic) of 10 patients, three of which had clinically important increases (13-148 cm(3); 28-74 cm(3); 47-104 cm(3)). Three pseudotumors (one solid and two cystic) disappeared completely (the largest measured 31 cm(3)). One solid pseudotumor decreased in size (24 to 18 cm(3)). In five revised patients, pseudotumors completely disappeared in four patients. The fifth patient had two masses that decreased from 437 cm(3) to 262 cm(3) and 43 cm(3) to 25 cm(3). All revision patients had a reduction of chromium (40.42 μ/L to 2.69 μ/L) and cobalt ions (54.19 μ/L to 0.64 μ/L). Of five isolated fluid collections, four completely disappeared (two metal-on-metal and two metal-on-polyethylene) and one (metal-on-metal) increased from 26 cm(3) to 136 cm(3).

Conclusions: Our observations suggest pseudotumors frequently increase in size in asymptomatic patients with occasional remission of small masses. Revision resulted in remission of pseudotumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Granuloma, Plasma Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Granuloma, Plasma Cell / etiology*
  • Hip Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Diseases / etiology*
  • Male
  • Metals
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Ultrasonography


  • Metals