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General Orthopaedics


Current Concepts in Joint Replacement (CCJR) – Spring 2015


Constrained liners are a tantalizing solution to both prevent and treat instability, as they markedly increase the force needed for a dislocation to occur. They have, however, several important negatives that the surgeon must consider before entertaining their use including: Increased stresses at the implant bone interface which can increase the risk of loosening or cause catastrophic failure in the early post-operative period; Decreased range of motion with a greater risk of impingement; and Usually require an open reduction if they dislocate or otherwise fail.

Given the limitations of constrained liners, we have looked to dual mobility articulations as an alternative to constrained liners in the past five years in our practice, including patients with abductor deficiency.

We retrospectively compared a consecutive series of revision THA that were at high risk for instability and treated with either a constrained liner or a dual mobility articulation. Indications for both groups included abductor insufficiency, revision for instability, or inadequate intra-operative stability when trialing. Forty-three hips were reviewed in the constrained group (mean follow-up 3.4 years) and thirty-six in the dual-mobility group (mean follow-up 2.4 years). The rate of failure was compared using a Fisher's exact test with a p-value of < 0.05 considered significant.

At a minimum of two years, there were 10 dislocations in the constrained group (10/43 or 23.3%) compared to 3 in the dual-mobility group (3/36 or 8.3%; p = 0.06). There were 15 repeat revisions in the constrained group (10 for instability, 4 for infection, and 1 broken locking mechanism) compared to 4 in the dual mobility group (2 mechanical failures of cemented dual mobility liners with dislocation and 2 for infection); 34.9% vs. 11.1% (p = 0.01). With repeat revision for instability as an endpoint, the failure rate was 23% for the constrained group and 5.5% for the dual mobility group (p = 0.03). Mean Harris Hip Score (HHS) improved from 45 to 76 points in the constrained liner group, and from 46 to 89 points in the dual-mobility group.

Dual mobility articulations offer anatomic sized femoral heads that greatly increase jump distance, without many of the negatives of a constrained liner. While dual mobility is associated with its own concerns and problems (including intra-prosthetic dislocation and wear) our initial results suggest that they are a viable alternative to a constrained liner, even in the most challenging situations.