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Volume 87-B, Issue 11 November 2005

Editorial
Ethics in orthopaedic surgery Pages 1449 - 1451
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M. K. D. Benson R. Bourne E. Hanley J. Harrison A. Jodoin R. Nicol L. van Wyk Professor S. Weinstein
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A. J. Carr
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Review Article
Spinal infections Pages 1454 - 1458
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S. Govender
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J. R. Crawford R. N. Villar
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Annotation
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C. Dezateux A. Roposch
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A. J. Butt T. McCarthy I. P. Kelly T. Glynn G. McCoy
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Sciatic nerve palsy is a recognised complication of primary total hip replacement. In our unit this complication was rare with an incidence of < 0.2% in the past ten years. We describe six cases of sciatic nerve palsy occurring in 355 consecutive primary total hip replacements (incidence 1.69%). Each of these palsies was caused by post-operative haematoma in the region of the sciatic nerve.

Cases, which were recognised early and surgically-evacuated promptly, showed earlier and more complete recovery. Those patients for whom the diagnosis was delayed, and who were therefore managed expectantly, showed little or no recovery. Unexpected pain and significant swelling in the buttock, as well as signs of sciatic nerve irritation, suggest the presence of haematoma in the region of the sciatic nerve.

It is, therefore, of prime importance to be vigilant for the features of a sciatic nerve palsy in the early post-operative period as, when recognised and treated early, the injury to the sciatic nerve may be reversed.


R. T. Steffen S. R. Smith J. P. G. Urban P. McLardy-Smith D. J. Beard H. S. Gill D. W. Murray
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We inserted an electrode up the femoral neck into the femoral head of ten patients undergoing a metal-on-metal hip resurfacing arthroplasty through a posterior surgical approach and measured the oxygen concentration during the operation. In every patient the blood flow was compromised during surgery, but the extent varied. In three patients, the oxygen concentration was zero at the end of the procedure. The surgical approach caused a mean 60% drop (p < 0.005) in oxygen concentration while component insertion led to a further 20% drop (p < 0.04). The oxygen concentration did not improve significantly on wound closure. This study demonstrates that during hip resurfacing arthroplasty, patients experience some compromise to their femoral head blood supply and some have complete disruption.


J. H. M. Goosen C. C. P. M. Verheyen N. J. A. Tulp
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We investigated the rate of polyethylene wear of a cementless acetabular component at different periods of follow-up in order to test the hypothesis than an irrecoverable deformation process (creep) was followed by an initially low, but gradually increasing wear rate. We studied prospectively 93 uncemented total hip arthroplasties in 83 patients (mean age 50 years (22 to 63)) with a mean follow-up of 8.2 years (3 to 12). We measured the penetration of the femoral head from radiographs taken immediately after surgery at three, six and nine years, or at the latest follow-up.

The median wear rate was 0.17 mm per year in the first three years, a finding which we considered to be caused by creep. Thereafter, the rate of wear declined to 0.07 mm per year (four- to six-year period) and then increased to 0.17 mm per year (seven to nine years) and 0.27 mm per year (more than nine years), which we considered to be a reflection of genuine polyethylene wear. After the nine-year follow-up the wear rates were higher in patients with marked osteolysis. We found no relationship between the inclination angle of the acetabular component or femoral head orientation and the rate of wear. No acetabular component required revision.


Knee
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Y. Kalairajah D. Simpson A. J. Cossey G. M. Verrall A. J. Spriggins
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We carried out a prospective randomised study to evaluate the blood loss in 60 patients having a total knee arthroplasty and divided randomly into two equal groups, one having a computer-assisted procedure and the other a standard operation. The surgery was carried out by a single surgeon at one institution using a uniform approach. The only variable in the groups was the use of intramedullary femoral and tibial alignment jigs in the standard group and single tracker pins of the imageless navigation system in the tibia and femur in the navigated group.

The mean drainage of blood was 1351 ml (715 to 2890; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1183 to 1518) in the computer-aided group and 1747 ml (1100 to 3030; CI 1581 to 1912) in the conventional group. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.001). The mean calculated loss of haemoglobin was 36 g/dl in the navigated group versus 53 g/dl in the conventional group; this was significant at p < 0.00001.

There was a highly significant reduction in blood drainage and the calculated Hb loss between the computer-assisted and the conventional techniques. This allows the ordering of less blood before the operation, reduces risks at transfusion and gives financial saving. Computer-assisted surgery may also be useful for patients in whom blood products are not acceptable.


A. J. Hart J. Buscombe A. Malone G. S. E. Dowd
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We used single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to determine the long-term risk of degenerative change after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Our study population was a prospective series of 31 patients with a mean age at injury of 27.8 years (18 to 47) and a mean follow-up of ten years (9 to 13) after bone-patellar tendon-bone reconstruction of the ACL. The contralateral normal knee was used as a control. All knees were clinically stable with high clinical scores (mean Lysholm score, 93; mean Tegner activity score, 6). Fifteen patients had undergone a partial meniscectomy and ACL reconstruction at or before reconstruction of their ACL.

In the group with an intact meniscus, clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) were found in only one patient (7%), who was also the only patient with marked isotope uptake on the SPECT scan compatible with OA. In the group which underwent a partial meniscectomy, clinical symptoms of OA were found in two patients (13%), who were among five (31%) with isotope uptake compatible with OA. Only one patient (7%) in this group had evidence of advanced OA on plain radiographs.

The risk of developing OA after ACL reconstruction in this series is very low and lower than published figures for untreated ACL-deficient knees. There is a significant increase (p < 0.05) in degenerative change in patients who had a reconstruction of their ACL and a partial meniscectomy compared with those who had a reconstruction of their ACL alone.


A. J. Price C. A. F. Dodd U. G. C. Svard D. W. Murray
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We present a comparison of the results of the Oxford unicompartmental knee arthroplasty in patients younger and older than 60 years of age. The ten-year all-cause survival of the < 60 years of age group (52) was 91% (95% confidence interval (CI) 12), while in the ≥ 60 years of age group (512), the figure was 96% (95% CI 3). For the younger group, the mean Hospital for Special Surgery score at ten-year follow-up (n = 21) was 94 of 100, compared with a mean of 86 of 100 for the older group (n = 135). The results show that the Oxford unicompartmental arthroplasty can achieve ten-year results that are comparable to total knee arthroplasty in patients < 60 years of age. We conclude that for patients aged over 50, age should not be considered a contraindication for this procedure.


A. J. Price A. Short C. Kellett D. Beard H. Gill H. Pandit C. A. F. Dodd D. W. Murray
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Polyethylene particulate wear debris continues to be implicated in the aetiology of aseptic loosening following knee arthroplasty. The Oxford unicompartmental knee arthroplasty employs a spherical femoral component and a fully congruous meniscal bearing to increase contact area and theoretically reduce the potential for polyethylene wear. This study measures the in vivo ten-year linear wear of the device, using a roentgenstereophotogrammetric technique.

In this in vivo study, seven medial Oxford unicompartmental prostheses, which had been implanted ten years previously were studied. Stereo pairs of radiographs were acquired for each patient and the films were analysed using a roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis calibration and a computer-aided design model silhouette-fitting technique. Penetration of the femoral component into the original volume of the bearing was our estimate of linear wear. In addition, eight control patients were examined less than three weeks post-insertion of an Oxford prosthesis, where no wear would be expected. The control group showed no measured wear and suggested a system accuracy of 0.1 mm. At ten years, the mean linear wear rate was 0.02 mm/year.

The results from this in vivo study confirm that the device has low ten-year linear wear in clinical practice. This may offer the device a survival advantage in the long term.


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R. P. Grelsamer A. Dubey C. H. Weinstein
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The Q angle is an important determinant of patellar tracking, though its clinical relevance is debatable. One controversy centres around any possible differences in its value between men and women. The accepted, though unproven explanation, for the greater Q angle in women is that a woman has a wider pelvis. However, because of the long distance between the pelvis and patella, relative to the distance from the patella to the tibial tuberosity, large changes in the position of the anterior superior iliac spine are necessary to effect significant changes in the Q angle. In our study of 69 subjects, we did not find such large differences in the position of the anterior superior iliac spine, and found a mean difference of only 2.3° between the Q angles of men and women.

Furthermore, we found that men and women of equal height demonstrated similar Q angles, with taller people having slightly smaller Q angles. The slight difference in Q angles between men and women can be explained by the fact that men tend to be taller.


J. Arora A. C. Ogden
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We analysed at a mean follow-up of 7.25 years the clinical and radiological outcome of 117 patients (125 knees) who had undergone a primary, cemented, modular Freeman-Samuelson total knee replacement. While the tibial and femoral components were cemented, the patellar component was uncemented. A surface-cementing technique was used to secure the tibial components. A total of 82 knees was available for radiological assessment. Radiolucent lines were seen in 41 knees (50%) and osteolytic lesions were seen in 13 knees (16%). Asymptomatic, rotational loosening of the patellar implant was seen in four patients and osteolysis was more common in patients with a patellar resurfacing. Functional outcome scores were available for 41 patients (41 knees, 35%) and the mean Western Ontario McMasters Universities score was 77.5 (sd 19.5) and the cumulative survival was 93.4% at ten years with revision for aseptic loosening as an endpoint. Increased polyethylene wear from modular components, a rotationally-loose patella, and the surface-cementing technique may have contributed to the high rate of osteolysis seen in our study.


Lower Limb
The Weil osteotomy Pages 1507 - 1511
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S. G. Hofstaetter J. G. Hofstaetter J. A. Petroutsas F. Gruber P. Ritschl H.-J. Trnka
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We prospectively evaluated the one- and seven-year results of the Weil osteotomy for the treatment of metatarsalgia with subluxed or dislocated metatarsophalangeal joints in 25 feet of 24 patients. Good to excellent results were achieved in 21 feet (84%) after one year and in 22 (88%) after seven years. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score significantly improved from 48 (sd 15) points before surgery to 75 (sd 24) at one year, and 83 (sd 18) at seven years. The procedure significantly reduced pain, diminished isolated plantar callus formation and increased the patient’s capacity for walking. Redislocation of the metatarsophalangeal joint was seen in two feet (8%) after one year and in three (12%) after seven years. Although floating toes and restricted movement of the metatarsophalangeal joint may occur, the Weil osteotomy is safe and effective.


S. A. Shahane I. A. Trail V. J. Takwale J. H. Stilwell J. K. Stanley
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We describe a technique of soft-tissue reconstruction which is effective for the treatment of chronic lunotriquetral instability. Part of extensor carpi ulnaris is harvested with its distal attachment preserved. It is passed through two drill holes in the triquetrum and sutured to itself. This stabilises the ulnar side of the wrist.

We have reviewed 46 patients who underwent this procedure for post-traumatic lunotriquetral instability with clinical signs suggestive of ulnar-sided carpal instability. Standard radiographs were normal. All patients had pre-operative arthroscopy of the wrist at which dynamic lunotriquetral instability was demonstrated. A clinical rating system for the wrist by the Mayo clinic was used to measure the outcome. In 19 patients the result was excellent, in ten good, in 11 satisfactory and in six poor. On questioning, 40 (87%) patients said that surgery had substantially improved the condition and that they would recommend the operation. However, six (13%) were unhappy with the outcome and would not undergo the procedure again for a similar problem. There were six complications, five of which related to pisotriquetral problems. The mean follow-up was 39.1 months (6 to 100). We believe that tenodesis of extensor carpi ulnaris is a very satisfactory procedure for isolated, chronic post-traumatic lunotriquetral instability in selected patients. In those with associated pathology, the symptoms were improved, but the results were less predictable.


S. Togawa N. Yamami H. Nakayama Y. Mano K. Ikegami S. Ozeki
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The Mangled Extremity Severity Score (MESS) may be used to decide whether to perform amputation in patients with injuries involving a limb. A score of 7 points or higher indicates the need for amputation. We have treated three patients with a MESS of 7 points or higher, in two of which the injured limb was salvaged. This scoring system was originally devised to assess injuries to the lower limb. However, a MESS of 7 points as a justification for amputation does not appear appropriate when assessing injuries to the major vessels in the upper limb.


N. Attias R. W. Lindsey A. J. Starr D. Borer K. Bridges J. A. Hipp
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We created virtual three-dimensional reconstruction models from computed tomography scans obtained from patients with acetabular fractures. Virtual cylindrical implants were placed intraosseously in the anterior column, the posterior column and across the dome of the acetabulum. The maximum diameter which was entirely contained within the bone was determined for each position of the screw. In the same model, the cross-sectional diameters of the columns were measured and compared to the maximum diameter of the corresponding virtual implant.

We found that the mean maximum diameter of virtual implant accommodated by the anterior columns was 6.4 mm and that the smallest diameter of the columns was larger than the maximum diameter of the equivalent virtual implant.

This study suggests that the size of the screw used for percutaneous fixation of acetabular fractures should not be based solely on the measurement of cross-sectional diameter and that virtual three-dimensional reconstructions might be useful in pre-operative planning.


F. N. K. Kwong T. Ibrahim R. A. Power
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Implantation of allograft bone is an integral part of revision surgery of the hip. One major concern with its use is the risk of transmission of infective agents. There are a number of methods of processing allograft bone in order to reduce this risk. One method requires washing the tissue using pulsed irrigation immediately before implantation. We report the incidence of deep bacterial infection in 138 patients (144 revision hip arthroplasties) who had undergone implantation of allograft bone. The bone used was fresh-frozen, non-irradiated and pulse-washed with normal saline before implantation. The deep infection rate at a minimum follow-up of one year was 0.7%. This method of processing appears to be associated with a very low risk of allograft-related bacterial infection.


D. Donati A. El Ghoneimy F. Bertoni C. Di Bella M. Mercuri
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We reviewed 124 patients with a conventional pelvic chondrosarcoma who had been treated over a period of 20 years. We recorded the type of tumour (central or peripheral), type of operation (limb salvage surgery or hemipelvectomy), the grade of tumour, local recurrence and/or metastases, in order to identify the factors which might influence survival.

More satisfactory surgical margins were achieved for central tumours or in those patients treated by hemipelvectomy. However, grade 1 tumours, whatever the course, did not develope metastases or cause death, while grade 3 tumours had the worst outcome and prognosis.

Central, high-grade tumours require aggressive surgical treatment in order to achieve adequate surgical margins, particularly in those lesions located close to the sacroiliac joint. By contrast, grade 1 peripheral chondrosarcomas may be treated with contaminated margins in order to reduce operative morbidity, but without reducing survival.


Children's Orthopaedics
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A. Pillai S. Atiya P. S. Costigan
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We have investigated the annual incidence of Perthes’ disease in Dumfries and Galloway (Southwest Scotland), in relation to the population density and socio-economic status. The incidence of Perthes’ disease in rural Scotland is comparable with that in urban areas (15.4 per 100 000). There was a direct association between the incidence of Perthes’ disease and deprivation scores, with the highest incidence in the most deprived areas. A higher incidence of Perthes’ disease was noted in areas with a lower population density compared with those with a higher density. We found no correlation between population density and deprivation scores for individual electoral wards within the region.


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S. Sharma M. Sibinski D. A. Sherlock
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It has been reported that there is an association between Perthes’ disease and poverty. We examined the demographic data of a group of 240 children (263 hips) who presented with Perthes’ disease in Greater Glasgow, where the mean deprivation scores are substantially greater than in the rest of Scotland, to see if this association applied and whether other clues to the aetiology of Perthes’ disease could be found. There were 197 boys and 43 girls; 39 (16.25%) had a family history of Perthes’ disease. Bone age in this series was heavily skewed towards the lower percentiles. The mean number of siblings was 1.9, with 31 (12.9%) being an only child. Maternal age at the birth of the first child showed no preponderance of older mothers. Maternal smoking during and after pregnancy was noted in 132 (55%), which compared with the 52% reported in the population of Greater Glasgow in general. Of the children in our series, 60 (25%) were in social class IV and V. However, this applies to more than half of the population of Greater Glasgow. There was no significant evidence of a preponderance of Perthes’ disease in the most deprived groups. The aetiology of Perthes’ disease is likely to be multifactorial and may include a genetic or deprivation influence resulting in delayed bone age.


M. Zenios J. Sampath C. Cole T. Khan C. S. B. Galasko
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Subluxation of the hip is common in patients with intermediate spinal muscular atrophy. This retrospective study aimed to investigate the influence of surgery on pain and function, as well as the natural history of subluxed hips which were treated conservatively. Thirty patients were assessed clinically and radiologically. Of the nine who underwent surgery only one reported satisfaction and four had recurrent subluxation. Of the 21 patients who had no surgery, 18 had subluxation at the latest follow-up, but only one reported pain in the hip. We conclude that surgery for subluxation of the hip in these patients is not justified.


C. B. D. Lavy M. Thyoka A. D. Pitani
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We examined 204 children (137 boys and 67 girls) aged 12 years and under with septic arthritis. Their mean age was 31.1 months (1 to 144; SD 41.6). The most common joints affected were the knees and shoulders. Joints in the upper limb were affected more often in younger children and in the lower limb in those who were older. The mean age for an infection was 12 months in the shoulder and 73 months in the hip. The most common organisms cultured were species of Salmonella.


R. Malhotra S. Bhan E. Krishna Kiran
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We present seven patients with recurrent haemarthroses after total knee arthroplasty, caused by an inherent platelet function defect. These patients developed painful knee swelling, persistent bleeding and/or wound breakdown, a platelet factor 3 availability defect being identified in all cases. Surgical exploration, with joint debridement, lavage and synovectomy, was performed in four patients who did not improve with conservative therapy. Histopathological examination of synovium revealed a focal synovial reaction with histiocytic infiltration, and occasional foreign-body giant cells. One patient required an early revision because of aseptic loosening of their tibial component. The condition was treated by single-donor platelet transfusions with good results. The diagnosis, management, and relevance of this disorder are discussed.


A. Matsumine K. Kusuzaki H. Hirata K. Fukutome M. Maeda A. Uchida
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We describe a case of intraneural metastasis of a synovial sarcoma, the first published case of a metastasis of a soft-tissue sarcoma to a peripheral nerve.


A completely shattered tibia Pages 1556 - 1559
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V. Z. John M. Alagappan S. Devadoss A. Devadoss
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Despite advances in reconstructive surgery, salvage of mangled extremities still requires long periods of treatment with many operations that can be taxing both to the surgeon and the patient. Attempts at reconstruction of severely shattered limbs necessitate counselling with regard to the protracted course of treatment and associated morbidity as well as problems which may require abandoning of the procedure and secondary amputation. We report the successful salvage of a severely comminuted and open fracture of the tibia in a 32-year-old man.


Research
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D. Janssen R. Aquarius J. Stolk N. Verdonschot
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The Capital Hip implant was a Charnley-based system which included a flanged and a roundback stem, both of which were available in stainless steel and titanium. The system was withdrawn from the market because of its inferior performance. However, all four of the designs did not produce poor rates of survival. Using a simulated-based, finite-element analysis, we have analysed the Capital Hip system. Our aim was to investigate whether our simulation was able to detect differences which could account for the varying survival between the Capital Hip designs, thereby further validating the simulation.

We created finite-element models of reconstructions with the flanged and roundback Capital Hips. A loading history was applied representing normal walking and stair-climbing, while we monitored the formation of fatigue cracks in the cement.

Corresponding to the clinical findings, our simulation was able to detect the negative effects of the titanium material and the flanged design in the Capital Hip system. Although improvements could be made by including the effect of the roughness of the surface of the stem, our study increased the value of the model as a predictive tool for determining failure of an implant.


R. E. Day S. Megson D. Wood
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Allograft bone is widely used in orthopaedic surgery, but peri-operative infection of the graft remains a common and disastrous complication. The efficacy of systemic prophylactic antibiotics is unproven, and since the graft is avascular it is likely that levels of antibiotic in the graft are low.

Using an electrical potential to accelerate diffusion of antibiotics into allograft bone, high levels were achieved in specimens of both sheep and human allograft. In human bone these ranged from 187.1 mg/kg in endosteal (sd 15.7) to 124.6 (sd 46.2) in periosteal bone for gentamicin and 31.9 (sd 8.9) in endosteal and 2.9 (sd 1.1) in periosteal bone for flucloxacillin. The antibiotics remained active against bacteria in vitro after iontophoresis and continued to elute from the allograft for up to two weeks.

Structural allograft can be supplemented directly with antibiotics using iontophoresis. The technique is simple and inexpensive and offers a potential means of reducing the rate of peri-operative infection in allograft surgery. Iontophoresis into allograft bone may also be applicable to other therapeutic compounds.


O. M. Böstman O. M. Laitinen O. Tynninen S. T. Salminen H. K. Pihlajamäki
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Despite worldwide clinical use of bio-absorbable devices for internal fixation in orthopaedic surgery, the degradation behaviour and tissue replacement of these implants are not fully understood.

In a long-term experimental study, we have determined the patterns of tissue restoration 36 and 54 months after implantation of polyglycolic acid and poly-laevo-lactic acid screws in the distal femur of the rabbit.

After 36 months in the polyglycolic acid group the specimens showed no remaining polymer and loose connective tissue occupied 80% of the screw track. Tissue restoration remained poor at 54 months, the amounts of trabecular bone and haematopoietic elements being significantly lower than those in the intact control group. The amount of trabecular bone within the screw track at 54 months in the polyglycolic acid group was less than in the empty drill holes (p = 0.04). In the poly-laevo-lactic acid group, polymeric material was present in abundance after 54 months, occupying 60% of the cross-section of the core area of the screw track.

When using absorbable internal fixation implants we should recognise that the degradation of the devices will probably not be accompanied by the restoration of normal trabecular bone.


Obituary
Hugh Phillips (1940–2005) Pages 1581 - 1581
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Frank Horan
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Errata
Errata Pages 1582 - 1583
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Errata Pages 1583 - 1583
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Authors’ reply Pages 1584 - 1584
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M. PARKER T. ROWLANDS K. GURUSAMY
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M. TODKAR
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K. R. BODDU SIVA RAMA S. APSINGI
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Author’s reply Pages 1585 - 1585
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M. AL-MAIYAH
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Author’s reply Pages 1585 - 1585
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M. AL-MAIYAH
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A. AGARWAL R. AGARWAL
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A. L. Wallace
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Tumours of the hand Pages 1586 - 1586
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D. Evans
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A. L. Wallace
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Books Received Pages 1587 - 1587
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