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The use of the transverse acetabular ligament in total hip replacement

An analysis of the orientation of the trial acetabular component using a navigation system

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It has recently been reported that the transverse acetabular ligament (TAL) is helpful in determining the position of the acetabular component in total hip replacement (THR). In this study we used a computer-assisted navigation system to determine whether the TAL is useful as a landmark in THR. The study was carried out in 121 consecutive patients undergoing primary THR (134 hips), including 67 dysplastic hips (50%). There were 26 men (29 hips) and 95 women (105 hips) with a mean age of 60.2 years (17 to 82) at the time of operation. After identification of the TAL, its anteversion was measured intra-operatively by aligning the inferomedial rim of the trial acetabular component with the TAL using computer-assisted navigation. The TAL was identified in 112 hips (83.6%). Intra-observer reproducibility in the measurement of anteversion of the TAL was high, but inter-observer reproducibility was moderate.

Each surgeon was able to align the trial component according to the target value of the angle of anteversion of the TAL, but it was clear that methods may differ among surgeons. Of the measurements of the angle of anteversion of the TAL, 5.4% (6 of 112 hips) were outliers from the safe zone.

In summary, we found that the TAL is useful as a landmark when implanting the acetabular component within the safe zone in almost all hips, and to prevent it being implanted in retroversion in all hips, including dysplastic hips. However, as anteversion of the TAL may be excessive in a few hips, it is advisable to pay attention to individual variations, particularly in those with severe posterior pelvic tilt.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:306–11.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr T. Kabata; e-mail:

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