We explored the literature surrounding whether allergy and hypersensitivity has a clinical basis for implant selection in total knee arthroplasty (TKA). In error, the terms hypersensitivity and allergy are often used synonymously. Although a relationship is present, we could not find any evidence of implant failure due to allergy. There is however increasing basic science that suggests a link between loosening and metal ion production. This is not an allergic response but is a potential problem. With a lack of evidence logically there can be no justification to use 'hypoallergenic' implants in patients who have pre-existing skin sensitivity to the metals used in TKA.
Keywords: Total knee arthroplasty; allergy; metal hypersensitivity.
©2016 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery.