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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 74-B, Issue 1 | Pages 67 - 73
1 Jan 1992
Kwong L Jasty M Mulroy R Maloney W Bragdon C Harris W

The radiographic and histological features of radiolucent areas at the cement-bone interface were correlated in 15 specimens retrieved at post-mortem from patients who had undergone cemented total hip arthroplasty, two weeks to 15 years prior to death. All but one of the components were securely fixed, as demonstrated by direct measurements of micromotion. Extensive radiolucencies were present in all but one case. In 11 of the 14 specimens with radiolucencies, histological examination showed that the radiolucent areas represented regions of osteoporosis and bone remodelling. The remodelling changes were characterised by osteoporosis, cancellisation and thinning of the endosteal cortex, and osteopenia of the trabecular bone. In two specimens the appearance of radiolucency was found to be due to fibrous tissue at the cement-bone interface and in one specimen there was a mixed picture of osteolysis and fibrosis. The study demonstrates that radiolucent lines can occur with well-fixed components and that they may commonly represent osteoporosis rather than the presence of a fibrous membrane at the cement-bone interface.