Metallosis following a clip breakage in a total knee arthroplasty implant: A case report.

Saad, Ahmed Isam, Shahban, Shafiq Arif and Fernandes, Richard (2018) Metallosis following a clip breakage in a total knee arthroplasty implant: A case report. World journal of orthopedics, 9 (12). pp. 300-303. ISSN 2218-5836.


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Metallosis describes the build-up of metal debris in the soft tissues after a period of metal on metal articulation. This debris can be asymptomatic or lead to catastrophic implant failure, which can present acutely, as in this case, or over a period of time. This report highlights how a metal clip used to hold the polyethylene liner to the tibial base plate broke 5 years after implantation, dislodged from its original position and went on to cause post-operative knee metallosis.


We present a case of a 63 year old lady admitted to our unit with an acute onset of right knee pain on top of a previous right total knee replacement. There was no associated trauma and examination revealed an erythematous, swollen and tender right knee. Blood investigations went on to display significantly raised inflammatory markers, raising the suspicion of a septic joint. This patient was taken to theatre for a knee arthrotomy and lavage of what was thought to be a septic joint when she was found to have extensive knee metallosis. On further inspection the metal clip, normally used to secure the polyethylene insert to the tibial base plate, had broken, dislodged, and had triggered this response. After the initial washout, this lady went back to theatre, once the appropriate implants were in stock, for an exchange of liner and metal clip.


This case highlights this very rare complication which has never been reported in the literature and the success of this patient's management.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WE Musculoskeletal. Orthopaedics
Divisions: Planned IP Care > Trauma and Orthopaedics
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mr Philip O'Reilly
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 14:42
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2019 14:42

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