Metallosis in a Dog as a Long-Term Complication Following Total Hip Arthroplasty

Vet Pathol. 2017 Sep;54(5):828-831. doi: 10.1177/0300985817716261. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


Metallosis is the accumulation of metallic debris in soft tissues resulting from wear following total joint replacement. A dog was evaluated for lameness 4 years after total hip arthroplasty using a titanium alloy and cobalt chromium total hip system. Radiographs revealed severe acetabular component wear, implant-bone interface deterioration, and peri-acetabular osteolysis. During surgical revision, black periarticular tissue surrounded the implants. Histologically, there was fibrosis and granulomatous inflammation with abundant, intra- and extracellular, black, granular material and smaller amounts of clear punctate to acicular material. Laser capture microdissection followed by x-ray fluorescence microscopy indicated the material contained large amounts of titanium with smaller amounts of vanadium, cobalt, and chromium, confirming the diagnosis of metallosis. The clear material was birefringent under cross-polarized light, stained positive with Oil-Red-O, and thus was consistent with polyethylene. Metallosis exhibits characteristic gross and histologic lesions and is a differential diagnosis for aseptic loosening of hip implants.

Keywords: arthroplasty; dogs; hip; histopathology; laser capture microdissection; metallosis; osteolysis; replacement; x-ray fluorescence microscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / instrumentation
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / veterinary*
  • Chromium Alloys / adverse effects
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dogs
  • Hip Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Laser Capture Microdissection / veterinary
  • Male
  • Metals / adverse effects*
  • Osteolysis / etiology
  • Osteolysis / veterinary*
  • Polyethylene
  • Postoperative Complications / veterinary*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Reoperation / veterinary
  • Titanium / adverse effects


  • Chromium Alloys
  • Metals
  • Polyethylene
  • Titanium