Mild aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion (ALVAL)-type reactions also present in patients with failed knee prostheses

A. Rajamäki, L. Lehtovirta, M. Niemeläinen, A. Reito, J. Parkkinen, S. Peräniemi, J. Vepsäläinen, A. Eskelinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Aims Metal particles detached from metal-on-metal hip prostheses (MoM-THA) have been shown to cause inflammation and destruction of tissues. To further explore this, we investigated the histopathology (aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesions (ALVAL) score) and metal concentrations of the periprosthetic tissues obtained from patients who underwent revision knee arthroplasty. We also aimed to investigate whether accumulated metal debris was associated with ALVAL-type reactions in the synovium. Methods Periprosthetic metal concentrations in the synovia and histopathological samples were analyzed from 230 patients from our institution from October 2016 to December 2019. An ordinal regression model was calculated to investigate the effect of the accumulated metals on the histopathological reaction of the synovia. Results Median metal concentrations were as follows: cobalt: 0.69 μg/g (interquartile range (IQR) 0.10 to 6.10); chromium: 1.1 μg/g (IQR 0.27 to 4.10); and titanium: 1.6 μg/g (IQR 0.90 to 4.07). Moderate ALVAL scores were found in 30% (n = 39) of the revised knees. There were ten patients with an ALVAL score of 6 or more who were revised for suspected periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), aseptic loosening, or osteolysis. R2 varied between 0.269 and 0.369 for the ordinal regression models. The most important variables were model type, indication for revision, and cobalt and chromium in the ordinal regression models. Conclusion We found that metal particles released from the knee prosthesis can accumulate in the periprosthetic tissues. Several patients revised for suspected culture-negative PJI had features of an ALVAL reaction, which is a novel finding. Therefore, ALVAL-type reactions can also be found around knee prostheses, but they are mostly mild and less common than those found around metal-on-metal prostheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalBone and joint research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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