header advert
You currently have no access to view or download this content. Please log in with your institutional or personal account if you should have access to through either of these
The Bone & Joint Journal Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from The Bone & Joint Journal

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Get Access locked padlock


Large diameter femoral heads

is bigger always better?

Download PDF


Dislocation remains among the most common complications of, and reasons for, revision of both primary and revision total hip replacements (THR). Hence, there is great interest in maximising stability to prevent this complication. Head size has been recognised to have a strong influence on the risk of dislocation post-operatively. As femoral head size increases, stability is augmented, secondary to an increase in impingement-free range of movement. Larger head sizes also greatly increase the ‘jump distance’ required for the head to dislocate in an appropriately positioned cup. Level-one studies support the use of larger diameter heads as they decrease the risk of dislocation following primary and revision THR. Highly cross-linked polyethylene has allowed us to increase femoral head size, without a marked increase in wear. However, the thin polyethylene liners necessary to accommodate larger heads may increase the risk of liner fracture and larger heads have also been implicated in causing soft-tissue impingement resulting in groin pain. Larger diameter heads also impart larger forces on the femoral trunnion, which may contribute to corrosion, metal release, and adverse local tissue reactions. Alternative large bearings including large ceramic heads and dual mobility bearings may mitigate some of these risks, and several of these devices have been used with clinical success.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B(11 Suppl A):23–6.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr H. J. Cooper; e-mail:

For access options please click here