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Volume 79-B, Issue 1 January 1997

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C. Court-Brown M. M. McQueen
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PHILIP FULFORD
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C. Krettek T. Miclau M. Blauth R. W. Lindsey C. Donow H. Tscherne
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Rotational deformity following intramedullary nailing may cause symptoms and require surgical correction by osteotomy. Reamed, locked intramedullary nailing may be performed, but concern about cortical blood supply and potential pulmonary dysfunction from reaming have led many surgeons to limit this and use smaller diameter nails. Slotted nails are commonly used but are less stiff in torsion than the newer unslotted nails, particularly at the lower diameters.

We report two cased of recurrent femoral rotational deformity after using statically interlocked slotted intramedullary nails to correct existing femoral rotational deformities. These patients show that small diameter statically interlocked femoral nails with diminished bone-nail contact must be stiff enough in rotation to avoid potential recurrence.


M. J. Chehade A. P. Pohl M. J. Pearcy N. Nawana
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In the assessment of fracture healing by monitoring stiffness with vibrational analysis or instrumented external fixators, it has been assumed that there is a workable correlation between stiffness and strength. We used four-point bending tests to study time-related changes in stiffness and strength in healing tibial fractures in sheep. We aimed to test the validity of the measurement of stiffness to assess fracture strength.

At each duration of healing examined, we found marked variations in stiffness and strength. Stiffness was shown to be load-dependent: measurements at higher loads reflected ultimate strength more accurately. There was a biphasic relationship between stiffness and strength: at first there was a strong correlation regardless of loading conditions, but in the second phase, which included the period of ‘clinical healing’, stiffness and strength were not significantly correlated.

We conclude that the monitoring of stiffness is useful primarily in assessing progress towards union but is inherently limited as an assessment of strength at the time of clinical union. Any interpretation of stiffness must take into account the load conditions.


I. Günal A. Taymaz N. Köse E. Göktürk S. Seber
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We have compared the results of simple patellectomy (group A, n = 16) and patellectomy with advancement of the vastus medialis obliquus (group B, n = 12) in a prospective, randomised trial, with a minimum follow-up of three years.

The results in group B were significantly better (p < 0.001) than those in group A. Although the patella should be preserved if possible, we advocate advancement of the vastus medialis obliquus when patellectomy is necessary.


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K. Ogawa A. Yoshida M. Takahashi M. Ui
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We reviewed 67 consecutive patients with fractures of the coracoid process, classifying them by the relationship between the fracture site and the coracoclavicular ligament. The 53 type-I fractures were behind the attachment of this ligament, and the 11 type-II fractures were anterior to it. The relationship of three fractures was uncertain. Type-I fractures were associated with a wide variety of shoulder injuries and consequent dissociation between the scapula and the clavicle. Treatment was usually by open reduction and fixation for type-I fractures and conservative methods for type-II.

At follow-up of the 45 available patients, 87% had excellent results, with no significant differences between the operative and non-operative groups or between the type-I and type-II fractures. We consider that operative treatment should be reserved for patients with multiple shoulder injuries with severe disruption of the scapuloclavicular connection.


H. W. B. Schreuder R. P. H Veth M. Pruszczynski J. A. M. Lemmens H. Schraffordt Koops W. M. Molenaar
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We treated 26 patients with 27 aneurysmal bone cysts by curettage and cryotherapy and evaluated local tumour control, complications and functional outcome. The mean follow-up time was 47 months (19 to154). There was local recurrence in one patient. Two patients developed deep wound infections and one had a postoperative fracture.

We compared our results with previous reports in which several different methods of treatment had been used and concluded that curettage with adjuvant cryotherapy had similar results to those of marginal resection, and that no major bony reconstruction was required.

We recommend the use of cryotherapy as an adjuvant to the surgical treatment of aneurysmal bone cysts. It provides local tumour control. Combination with bone grafting achieved consolidation of the lesion in all our patients.


D. Remedios A. Saifuddin J. Pringle
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We have reviewed 13 operations on 11 patients using curettage and polymethylmethacrylate cement for giant-cell tumour of bone (GCT) to assess the value of radiology in the early detection of recurrence. There were four recurrences, the most specific radiological sign on plain radiography was lysis of 5 mm or more at the cement-bone interface. This preceded clinical signs by a mean of four months and was identified at a mean of 3.75 months after operation. There was not always a complete sclerotic margin around the cement, but when it was present, there was never evidence of recurrence. MRI was helpful in assessing cases with evidence of recurrence.

Frequent surveillance with plain radiography should continue for one year after operation irrespective of clinical signs of recurrence. When the appearance of the plain radiographs suggests recurrence, MRI should be performed and followed by image-guided needle biopsy.


G. Holzer R. Windhager R. Kotz
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We have reviewed the results of one-stage revision surgery in 18 patients for infection of megaprostheses implanted after the resection of malignant bone and soft-tissue tumours.

At a mean follow-up of 52.0 ± 35.0 months (18 to 135) infection was eliminated in 14 of the 18 patients. The infection-free patients showed no abnormal tests for inflammation and had a mean Enneking score of 20.6 ± 5.0 points (maximum 30 points).

We suggest that one-stage revision without exchange of the anchorage parts is justified in patients with megaprostheses infected by antibiotic-sensitive micro-organisms.


R. W.-W. Hsu M. B. Wood F. H. Sim E. Y. S. Chao
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We have reviewed 30 patients at a mean of 36 months after free vascularised fibular transfer to reconstruct massive skeletal defects after resection of primary bone tumours. There were 23 malignant and 7 benign neoplasms, half in the lower limb and half in the upper. Arthrodesis was performed in 15 and intercalary bone replacement in 15. The mean fibular graft length was 189 mm.

Union was achieved in 27 (90%) at an average of 7.6 months, and the 3-year survival was 89%. There was a high complication rate (50%), but most resolved without greatly influencing the final outcome. There was local recurrence in two (6.7%), but 16 of the 24 assessed patients (67%) had satisfactory functional results. This is a reasonably effective means of reconstruction for limb salvage after resection of tumours.


A. Minami K. Kaneda S. Satoh K. Abumi K. Kutsumi
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A vascularised fibular strut graft was used for anterior spinal fusion in 16 patients with spinal kyphosis. The procedure was abandoned in three because of difficulty in establishing a vascular anastomosis and in one because the grafted fibula dislodged two days after operation. One patient died after five days. Of the 11 remaining patients, there were seven males and four females. Their ages at the time of operation averaged 30.9 years (12 to 71). The number of vertebrae fused averaged 6.7 (5 to 9) and the length of fibula grafted averaged 10.9 cm (6.5 to 18).

Average follow-up was 54 months (27 to 84). Bone union occurred at both ends of the grafted fibula in all 11 patients, with an average time to union of 5.5 months (3 to 8). We did not see a fracture of the grafted fibula. Two patients had postoperative complications; the graft dislodged in one and laryngeal oedema occurred two days after operation in the other.

A vascularised fibular strut graft provides a biomechanically stable and long-standing support in spinal fusion because the weak phase of creeping substitution does not take place in the graft.


M. Grevitt R. Khazim J. Webb R. Mulholland J. Shepperd
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The Short Form-36 (SF-36) health questionnaire has been put forward as a general measure of outcome in health care and has been evaluated in several recent studies in the UK. We report its use in three groups of patients after spinal operations and have compared it with the Oswestry and Low Back Pain disability scales.

There was a significant correlation between all variables of the SF-36 and the low-back scores. The mental-health items had the weakest correlation. Our study shows that the SF-36 questionnaire is valid and has internal consistency when applied to these patients.


M. H. H. Noordeen J. Lee C. E. R. Gibbons B. A. Taylor G. Bentley
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We reviewed retrospectively the role of monitoring of somatosensory spinal evoked potentials (SSEP) in 99 patients with neuromuscular scoliosis who had had operative correction with Luque-Galveston rods and sublaminar wiring.

Our findings showed that SSEP monitoring was useful and that a 50% decrease in the amplitude of the trace optimised both sensitivity and specificity. The detection of true-positive results was higher than in cases of idiopathic scoliosis, but the method was less sensitive and specific and there were more false-negative results. In contrast with the findings in idiopathic scoliosis, recovery of the trace was associated with a 50% to 60% risk of neurological impairment.

Only one permanent injury occurred during the use of this technique, and any temporary impairment resolved within two months.


Children's Orthopaedics
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D. Naudie R. C. Hamdy F. Fassier B. Morin M. Duhaime
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We reviewed retrospectively 22 patients (23 limb segments) with fibular hemimelia treated by amputation or limb lengthening to evaluate these methods of treatment. There were 12 boys and 10 girls, all with associated anomalies in the lower limbs. Twelve patients (13 limb segments) had early amputation and prosthetic fitting and ten had tibial lengthening using the Ilizarov technique.

At the latest follow-up, the twelve patients who had amputation were functioning well and had few complications. The ten patients who had lengthening had suffered numerous complications, and all had needed either further corrective surgery or to wear braces or shoe-raises. Two of the ten lengthened limbs required late amputation for poor function or cosmesis. There were fewer hospital admissions, clinic visits, and periods of absence from school in the amputation group.

Our findings suggest that amputation is a more effective method of management than limb-lengthening in severe fibular hemimelia. The Ilizarov method is an attractive alternative for selected patients, but its exact role is not yet established. One problem is that families often have unrealistic expectations of the surgical and prosthetic technology available and may refuse amputation when this has been recommended.


H.-W. Park H.-J. Kim B.-M. Park
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We describe a three-year-old boy who had spontaneous regeneration of the entire lateral malleolus after injury, including the epiphysis, physis and metaphysis.


Shoulder
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M. P. M. Stewart I. G. Kelly
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We made a prospective study of 58 consecutive Neer II total shoulder replacements in 49 rheumatoid patients. Cemented glenoid and press-fit humeral components had been used. After a mean follow-up of 9.5 years (7 to 13), 11 patients (15 shoulders) had died, one shoulder had been arthrodesed and five patients (five shoulders) had been lost to follow-up.

Of the remaining 37 shoulders 29 were painfree or had only slight discomfort, four had pain on unusual activity, and four had moderate or severe pain. There were satisfactory improvements in the mean range of active elevation (53° to 75°) and external rotation (5° to 38°); satisfactory performance of the activities of daily living had been maintained throughout follow-up. Radiographs showed loosening in ten shoulders of nine glenoid and nine humeral components but of these only three had significant symptoms. Three loose glenoid components and two loose humeral components required revision.

We consider that the Neer total shoulder replacement provides a reasonable medium to long-term outcome in rheumatoid arthritis, but recommend that the humeral component should be routinely cemented.


R. W. Nutton J. M. McBirnie C. Phillips
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We report a prospective study of 49 patients who had arthroscopic subacromial decompression for chronic rotator-cuff impingement. All patients were assessed preoperatively and at 3, 6 and 12 months using the modified UCLA shoulder score.

The dominant arm was affected in 35 patients, but only 13 recognised overuse as a cause of their shoulder pain. Before operation, the UCLA shoulder score was poor or fair in all patients. After three months only 28% of patients had satisfactory relief of symptoms but at one year 85% of patients examined had a good or excellent result. Patients with calcific tendonitis recovered more quickly: 93% reported a good result at six months.

We conclude that arthroscopic subacromial decompression is an effective form of treatment, but that patients should be warned that recovery from surgery may be prolonged.


E. Itoi H. Minagawa T. Sato K. Sato S. Tabata
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We measured the isokinetic strength of abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation in ten patients with full-thickness tears of the supraspinatus and ten with partial-thickness tears. The measurements were repeated after intra-articular or intrabursal injection of local anaesthetic.

Pain blocks produced significant increases in strength in both full and partial-thickness tears. After the block, the strength in full-thickness tears compared with the opposite side was 67% to 81% in abduction and 67% to 78% in external rotation, both significantly smaller than those on the uninvolved side (p = 0.0064, p = 0.0170). In partial-thickness tears the strength after the block ranged from 82% to 111%, with no significant differences between the involved and uninvolved sides.

The decreases in strength of 19% to 33% in abduction and 22% to 33% in external rotation after full-thickness tears appear to represent the contribution of supraspinatus to the strength of the shoulder.


T. Okamoto S. Inao E. Gotoh M. Ando
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We performed Charnley total hip arthroplasties on 64 patients (71 hips) between 1976 and 1984 for moderate congenital acetabular dysplasia in which a superolateral cement thickness of less than 20 mm was expected when the cup was placed in the true acetabulum at an angle of 45°. Of these, 59 hips were examined 10 to 17 years after operation; 37 (group A) had been operated on between 1976 and 1982 using Charnley’s original technique of cementing the acetabulum and 22 (group B) between 1983 and 1984 using more modern techniques.

In group A, aseptic loosening of the socket was observed in ten hips (27.0%) and the 17-year survival rate was 81.5%. In group B, loosening was noted in only one socket (4.5%) and the 13-year survival rate was 100%. The improved techniques produced significantly better long-term results in fixation of the cup in dysplastic hips without bone grafting.


H. Oonishi Y. Iwaki N. Kin S. Kushitani N. Murata S. Wakitani K. Imoto
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Hydroxyapatite (HA) granules of 100 to 300 μm, 0.9 to 1.2 mm and 3.0 to 5.0 mm were mixed in a ratio of 10:45:45 and packed into massive bone deficiencies in revision operations for total hip arthroplasty. We did not use additional graft or cup support for deficiencies of the lateral and medial wall. The procedure was carried out in 40 hips between 1986 and 1992.

The radiographic spaces seen at the interface between HA and bone immediately after surgery disappeared within three months. Some spaces appeared between HA granules near the bone in the lateral part of two joints, and three sockets migrated in patients with severe segmental and cavitary deficiencies. Direct bonding of HA to bone was observed radiologically without morphological changes, except in the three joints with migration. All patients could walk without pain but the three with definite loosening needed crutches.


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A. R. Britton D. W. Murray C. J. Bulstrode K. McPherson R. A. Denham
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We have assessed the relative value of various outcome measures after THR, by the analysis of follow-up data from over 2000 patients. They had been reviewed clinically and radiologically six months after operation, at one year, and then every two years, some for 16 years. At each review their pain level, stiffness and opinion of progress were scored and a radiograph taken.

We found that pain level was the most informative outcome as a predictor of revision and correlated well with the patients’ opinions.

We made a comparison between the six types of implant in the series, using survival analysis and log-rank testing with different pain levels as endpoints. This analysis revealed differences which were not detected by survival analysis using the traditional endpoint of revision.

We therefore recommend the use of different levels of pain as the main outcome measures after total hip replacement.


Lower Limb
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V. Finsen A-M. Kasseth
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We studied perioperative pain and postoperative neurological changes after surgery for hallux valgus in 50 patients operated on under local ankle block. Patients were randomised to have the pneumatic tourniquet either at calf level or just above the ankle. The cuffs were inflated to 100 mmHg above systolic blood pressure. One patient was withdrawn from the study after randomisation. Areas of pain, paraesthesia and numbness were marked by patients on a diagram of the foot before operation and at six and ten weeks after operation.

Both positions of the tourniquet gave an excellent bloodless field. The proximal tourniquet gave significantly greater discomfort (p < 0.01) during the operation, after 10, 20 and 30 minutes. Application of the cuff at the ankle gave no relative increase in areas of numbness and paraesthesia at six and ten weeks.

An ankle tourniquet gives less discomfort with no increase in the incidence of nerve injury.


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T. G. McWilliams C. L. Poon C. N. McCollum
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After total knee replacement a 57-year-old woman developed increasing pain in her left calf on exercise. This was due to erosion of the popliteal artery by a spur of cement. Removal of the spur with resection and Dacron grafting of the damaged section of the vessel cured her symptoms.


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S. Amillo F. J. Arriola G. Muñoz
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Glomus tumours are rare and benign, arising from a neuromyoarterial glomus body, most commonly in the hand. We report a patient with such a tumour in an atypical site, the right vastus lateralis. Pain was aggravated by muscle contraction, and ultrasonography and MRI were required to locate the lesion accurately. Surgical excision gave immediate pain relief.


Research
Editorial: Research Section Pages 108 - 108
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Neil Rushton
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M. S. Kuster G. A. Wood G. W. Stachowiak A. Gächter
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Estimates of knee joint loadings were calculated for 12 normal subjects from kinematic and kinetic measures obtained during both level and downhill walking. The maximum tibiofemoral compressive force reached an average load of 3.9 times body-weight (BW) for level walking and 8 times BW for downhill walking, in each instance during the early stance phase. Muscle forces contributed 80% of the maximum bone-on-bone force during downhill walking and 70% during level walking whereas the ground reaction forces contributed only 20% and 30% respectively.

Most total knee designs provide a tibiofemoral contact area of 100 to 300 mm2. The yield point of these polyethylene inlays will therefore be exceeded with each step during downhill walking. Future evaluation of total knee designs should be based on a tibiofemoral joint load of 3.5 times BW at 20° knee flexion, 8 times BW at 40° and 6 times BW at 60°.


J. W. Pritchett
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Substance P is readily detected in the synovial fluid of the knee in which it acts as a powerful inflammatory agent in response to injury and disease. It may be an objective predictor of pain after knee replacement surgery.

The level of substance P was measured in the synovial fluid in both knees of 114 patients having unilateral and in 86 patients having bilateral total knee replacement for osteoarthritis. All had severe pain in the knee to be replaced and joint destruction. Substance P was elevated in 73% of replaced knees but not in normal or asymptomatic knees. Good or excellent pain relief was achieved in 97% of patients with an elevated preoperative level of substance P and in 61% of those with a normal preoperative level (p < 0.05 compared with preoperative values).


G. H. van Lenthe M. C. de Waal Malefijt R. Huiskes
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Inadequate bone stock is often found in revision surgery of femoral components of total knee replacements. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that these remodelling patterns can be explained by stress shielding, and that prosthetic bonding characteristics affect maintenance of bone mass.

We made a three-dimensional finite-element model of an average male femur with a cemented femoral knee component. This model was integrated with iterative remodelling procedures. Two extreme prosthetic bonding conditions were analysed and gradual changes in bone density were calculated.

The long-term bone loss under the femoral knee component resembled clinical findings which confirms the hypothesis that stress shielding can cause distal femoral bone loss. Our study predicts, contrary to clinical findings, that an equilibrium situation is not reached after two years, but that bone resorption may continue. This hidden bone loss may be so drastic that large reconstructions are needed at the time of revision.


R. N. Maniar R. C. Todd S. Robinson M. Critchley
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We studied the pattern of 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate uptake around uncemented femoral components in 44 asymptomatic hip arthroplasties, performing isotope scans at intervals from 4 to 48 months after operation. We used phase-III images obtained with a high-resolution gamma camera and measured the activity in various zones using a specially designed computer program. The components studied at 4, 6, 9 and 12 months were coated with hydroxyapatite (HA) and those studied at 18, 24, 36 and 48 months were not coated.

We found a statistically significant fall in activity between four and six months around HA-coated prostheses in all five femoral periprosthetic zones. After six months activity was relatively uniform, but remained higher than that in normal femoral bone at 48 months in non-coated prostheses. We discuss the application of these patterns in the evaluation of painful cementless hip arthroplasties.


A. Sabokbar Y. Fujikawa D. W. Murray N. A. Athanasou
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A heavy infiltrate of foreign-body macrophages is commonly seen in the fibrous membrane which surrounds an aseptically loose cemented implant. This is in response to particles of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) bone cement and other biomaterials. We have previously shown that monocytes and macrophages responding to particles of bone cement are capable of differentiating into osteoclastic cells which resorb bone.

To determine whether the radio-opaque additives barium sulphate (BaSO4) and zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) influence this process, particles of PMMA with and without these agents were added to mouse monocytes and cocultured with osteoblast-like cells on bone slices. Osteoclast differentiation, as shown by the presence of the osteoclast-associated enzyme tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and lacunar bone resorption, was observed in all cocultures.

The addition of PMMA alone to these cocultures caused no increase in TRAP expression or bone resorption relative to control cocultures. Adding PMMA particles containing BaSO4 or ZrO2, however, caused an increase in TRAP expression and a highly significant increase in bone resorption. Particles containing BaSO4 were associated with 50% more bone resorption than those containing ZrO2.

Our results suggest that radio-opaque agents in bone cement may contribute to the bone resorption of aseptic loosening by enhancing macrophage-osteoclast differentiation, and that PMMA containing is BaSO4 likely to be associated with more osteolysis than that containing ZrO2.


S. Lerouge O. Huk L’H. Yahia J. Witvoet L. Sedel
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We made a semiquantitative study of the comparative histology of pseudomembranes from 12 loose cemented ceramic-ceramic and 18 metal-polyethylene total hip replacements. We found no significant difference in cellular reaction between the two groups, but there was a major difference in the origin of the particulate debris. In the metal-polyethylene group, polyethylene of articular origin was predominant, while in the ceramic-ceramic group the cellular reaction appeared to be a response to zirconia ceramic particles used to opacify cement used for fixation.

Isolation and characterisation of the debris showed that the zirconia particles formed the greatest proportion (76%) in ceramic-ceramic hips, while alumina debris of articular origin formed only 12%.

Our study has indicated that aseptic loosening of ceramic cups is not due to a response to debris generated at the articular interface, but to mechanical factors which lead to fragmentation of the cement.


R. P. Robinson P. T. Simonian I. M. Gradisar R. P. Ching
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A three-dimensional computer model of a total hip replacement was used to examine the relationship between the position of the components, the range of motion and the prosthetic joint contact area. Horizontal acetabular positions with small amounts of acetabular and femoral anteversion provide the largest contact areas, but result in limited joint movement.

These data will allow surgeons to select implant positions that will provide the largest possible joint contact area for a given joint range of motion although these are conflicting goals. In some component positions a truncated spherical prosthetic head resulted in smaller contact areas than a completely spherical head.


M. F. Brown M. V. J. Hukkanen I. D. McCarthy D. R. M. Redfern J. J. Batten H. V. Crock S. P. F. Hughes J. M. Polak
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We obtained intervertebral discs with cartilage endplates and underlying cancellous bone at operation from patients with degenerative disc disease and then used immunohistochemical techniques to localise the nerves and nerve endings in the specimens. We used antibodies for the ubiquitous neuronal protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5). Immunoreactivity to neuropeptide Y was used to identify autonomic nerves and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P to identify sensory nerves. Blood vessels were identified by immunoreactivity with platelet-endothelial cell-adhesion molecule (CD31; PECAM).

In a control group with no known history of chronic back pain, nerve fibres immunoreactive to PGP 9.5 and neuropeptide Y were most closely related to blood vessels, with occasional substance P and CGRP immunoreactivity. In patients with severe back pain and markedly reduced disc height, proliferation of blood vessels and accompanying nerve fibres was observed in the endplate region and underlying vertebral bodies. Many of these nerves were immunoreactive to substance P or CGRP, and in addition, substance P- and CGRP-immunoreactive nociceptors were seen unrelated to blood vessels. Quantification by image analysis showed a marked increase in CGRP-containing sensory nerve fibres compared with normal control subjects.

We speculate that a chemotactic response to products of disc breakdown is responsible for the proliferation of vascularity and CGRP-containing sensory nerves found in the endplate region and vertebral body adjacent to degenerate discs. The neuropeptides substance P and CGRP have potent vasodilatory as well as pain-transmitting effects. The increase in sensory nerve endings suggests increase in blood flow, perhaps as an attempt to augment the nutrition of the degenerate disc. The increase in the density of sensory nerves, and the presence of endplate cartilage defects, strongly suggest that the endplates and vertebral bodies are sources of pain; this may explain the severe pain on movement experienced by some patients with degenerative disc disease.


A. G. Edwards D. S. McNally R. C. Mulholland A. E. Goodship
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Posterior fixation of intervertebral discs is used to treat, and occasionally diagnose, discogenic pain since it is thought that it will reduce the internal loading of the discs in vitro. We measured the internal loading of ten intervertebral discs using stress profilometry under simulated physiological loads and then after posterior fixation. Partial discectomies were performed to simulate advanced disc degeneration and the sequence repeated.

Posterior fixation had very little effect on the magnitude of the loads acting on the disc and none when disc degeneration was simulated. It did, however, reduce bulging of the anterior annulus under combined bending and compression (p < 0.03). Recent experiments in vivo have shown that discogenic pain is associated with abnormal bulging of the annulus which suggests that the clinical benefit of fixation may be due to this.


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R. L. M. Deijkers R. M. Bloem P. L. C. Petit R. Brand S. B. W. Vehmeyer M. R. Veen
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We analysed the bacterial contamination of 1999 bone allografts retrieved from 200 cadaver donors under sterile operating conditions. The effect of various factors on the relative risk of contamination was estimated using a multiple logistic regression model.

Organisms of low pathogenicity were cultured from 50% of the grafts and of high pathogenicity from 3%. The risk of contamination with low pathogenic organisms (mainly skin commensals) increased by a factor of 1.6 for each member added to the procurement team. The risk of contamination with high pathogenic organisms (mainly contaminants from the gastrointestinal tract) was 3.4 times higher in donors with a traumatic cause of death and 5.2 times higher in those with a positive blood culture. Preceding organ procurement did not significantly influence the risk of contamination. Rinsing the graft with an antibiotic solution was not an effective decontamination method.

The major source of contamination is exogenous and is strongly influenced by the procurement team. Contamination from endogenous sources can be controlled by donor selection. We discuss methods that can be used to decrease contamination and the rate of discarding of bone allografts.


V. Zdravkovic G. R. Sennwald
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We assessed carpal collapse by measuring the capitate-radius (CR) distance on standard plain radiographs. This new method required validation of diagnostic accuracy, so we compared it with the method of Nattrass et al1 known as revised carpal height (RCH).

We studied wrist radiographs from 16 normal subjects and 11 patients with unilateral Kienböck’s disease. We found that there was a significant difference in the left/right CR index between the normal wrists and those with Kienböck’s disease (p < 0.001). The use of left/right RCH index showed no significant difference (p = 0.30). Diagnostic accuracy was shown to be higher for the CR index using ROC curves.

We then assessed 40 normal wrists and found the mean CR index to be 0.999 ± 0.034, and suggest that values less than 0.92 are abnormal. The CR index can be used for diagnosis in unilateral carpal collapse, and for monitoring progress where the condition is bilateral.


T. D. TENNET N. C. BIRCH D. M. EASTWOOD
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R. M. SMITH S. MATTHEWS
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Author’s reply Pages 170 - 171
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C. M. COURT-BROWN
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K. S. EYRES
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Author’s reply Pages 171 - 171
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B. JOSEPH
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Authors’ reply Pages 171 - 172
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J. R. GOODLAND C. D. M. FLETCHER M. A. SMITH
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R. J. GRIMER S. R. CARTER R. M. TILLMAN
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M. KARAHAN T. ESEMENLI
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Author’s reply Pages 172 - 172
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M. J. ALLEN
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