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The case for removing the subchondral bone plate in preparation of the acetabulum

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Aseptic loosening of the acetabular component continues to be the most common indication for revision of total hip replacements in younger patients. Early in the evolution of the cemented hip, arthroplasty surgeons switched from removal to retention of the acetabular subchondral bone plate, theorising that unfavourable mechanical forces were the cause of loosening at the bone-cement interface.

It is now known that the cause of aseptic loosening is probably biological rather than mechanical and removing the subchondral bone plate may enhance biological fixation of cement to bone. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to revive removal of the subchondral bone as a standard part of acetabular preparation.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr J. Gilbody; e-mail: gilbody@doctors.org.uk

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