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Late peri-prosthetic femoral fracture as a major mode of failure in uncemented primary hip replacement

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Peri-prosthetic femoral fracture after total hip replacement (THR) is associated with a poor outcome and high mortality. However, little is known about its long-term incidence after uncemented THR.

We retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of 326 patients (354 hips) who had received a CLS Spotorno replacement with an uncemented, straight, collarless tapered titanium stem between January 1985 and December 1989. The mean follow-up was 17 years (15 to 20). The occurrence of peri-prosthetic femoral fracture during follow-up was noted. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate the cumulative incidence of fracture.

At the last follow-up, 86 patients (89 hips) had died and eight patients (eight hips) had been lost to follow-up. A total of 14 fractures in 14 patients had occurred. In ten hips, the femoral component had to be revised and in four the fracture was treated by open reduction and internal fixation. The cumulative incidence of peri-prosthetic femoral fracture was 1.6% (95% confidence interval 0.7 to 3.8) at ten years and 4.5% (95% confidence interval 2.6 to 8.0) at 17 years after the primary THR. There was no association between the occurrence of fracture and gender or age at the time of the primary replacement.

Our findings indicate that peri-prosthetic femoral fracture is a significant mode of failure in the long term after the insertion of an uncemented CLS Spotorno stem. Revision rates for this fracture rise in the second decade. Further research is required to investigate the risk factors involved in the occurrence of late peri-prosthetic femoral fracture after the implantation of any uncemented stem, and to assess possible methods of prevention.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor P. R. Aldinger; e-mail: peter.aldinger@diak-stuttgart.de

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