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Metallosis, defined as the presence of free metal particles in the tissue, including bone and soft tissue, is a rare phenomenon seen in orthopedic practice. It is more commonly seen in arthroplasty surgeries, but its occurrence in the presence of other metal implants is also well recognized. Multiple hypotheses are suggested to explain the genesis of metallosis, but it is traditionally believed that abnormal contact between the metal surfaces leads to abrasive wear causing the release of metal particles into the surrounding tissue eliciting foreign body reactions from the body's immune system. The consequences can be local effects, which can be asymptomatic soft tissue lesions, or lead to significant osteolysis, tissue necrosis, joint effusion, and large soft tissue masses, causing secondary pathological effects. The systemic distribution of these metal particles can also contribute to the clinical picture. The literature contains multiple case reports of metallosis following arthroplasty surgeries, but there is limited information on metallosis resulting from osteosynthesis of fractures. In this review, we are presenting our experience with a few patients who developed nonunion following the index surgeries and on revision were found to have metallosis as well. It is difficult to postulate whether metallosis was contributory to the nonunion or the other way around or whether the occurrence of nonunion in face of metallosis was a pure coincidence. Additionally, one of our patients had a positive intraoperative culture, further complicating the picture. In addition to the case series, we present a succinct review of the literature on metallosis found in previous studies.


abrasion, matallosis, metal ions, nonunion, pseudotumour, titanium plate.

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