J Arthroplasty 2017 02 10;32(2):610-615. Epub 2016 Aug 10.
Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, University College London and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
Background: A head that is "clinically cold welded" to a stem is one of the commonest reasons for unplanned removal of the stem. It is not clear which hip designs are at greatest risk of clinical cold welding.
Methods: This was a case-control study of consecutively received hip implant retrievals; we chose the design of hip that had the greatest number of truly cold-welded heads (n = 11). For our controls, we chose retrieved hips of the same design but without cold welding of the head (n = 35). We compared the clinical variables between these 2 groups using nonparametric Mann-Whitney tests to investigate the significance of differences between the cold-welded and non-cold-welded groups.
Results: The design that most commonly caused cold welding was a combination of a Ti stem and Ti taper: 11 out of 48 (23%) were truly cold welded. Comparison of the clinical data showed that no individual factor could be used to predict this preoperatively with none of the 4 predictors tested showing any significance: (1) time to revision (P = .687), (2) head size (P = .067), (3) patient age at primary (P = .380), and (4) gender (P = .054).
Conclusion: We have shown that clinical cold welding is most prevalent in Ti-Ti combinations of the stem and taper; approximately 25% of cases received at our center were cold welded. Analysis of clinical variables showed that it is not possible to predict which will be cold welded preoperatively. Surgeons should be aware of this potential complication when revising a Ti-Ti stem/head junction.