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The role of patient factors and implant position in squeaking of ceramic-on-ceramic total hip replacements

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We investigated factors that were thought to be associated with an increased incidence of squeaking of ceramic-on-ceramic total hip replacements. Between June 1997 and December 2008 the three senior authors implanted 2406 primary total hip replacements with a ceramic-on-ceramic bearing surface. The mean follow-up was 10.6 years. The diagnosis was primary osteoarthritis in each case, and no patient had undergone previous surgery to the hip. We identified 74 squeaking hips (73 patients) giving an incidence of 3.1% at a mean follow-up of 9.5 years (4.1 to 13.3).

Taller, heavier and younger patients were significantly more likely to have hips that squeaked. Squeaking hips had a significantly higher range of post-operative internal (p = 0.001) and external rotation (p = 0.003) compared with silent hips. Patients with squeaking hips had significantly higher activity levels (p = 0.009). A squeaking hip was not associated with a significant difference in patient satisfaction (p = 0.24) or Harris hip score (p = 0.34). Four implant position factors enabled good prediction of squeaking. These were high acetabular component inclination, high femoral offset, lateralisation of the hip centre and either high or low acetabular component anteversion.

This is the largest study to date to examine patient factors and implant position factors that predispose to squeaking of a ceramic-on-ceramic hip. The results suggest that factors which increase the mechanical forces across the hip joint and factors which increase the risk of neck-to-rim impingement, and therefore edge-loading, are those that predispose to squeaking.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr S. A. Sexton; e-mail: shaunsexton@doctors.org.uk

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