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Systematic Review

A systematic review of short metaphyseal loading cementless stems in hip arthroplasty

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Short-stemmed femoral implants have been used for total hip arthroplasty (THA) in young and active patients to conserve bone, provide physiological loading, and reduce the incidence of thigh pain. Only short- to mid-term results have been presented and there have been concerns regarding component malalignment, incorrect sizing, and subsidence. This systematic review reports clinical and radiological outcomes, complications, revision rates, and implant survival in THA using short-stemmed femoral components.

Materials and Methods

A literature review was performed using the EMBASE, Medline, and Cochrane databases. Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to identify studies reporting clinical and radiological follow-up for short-stemmed hip arthroplasties.


A total of 28 studies were eligible for inclusion. This included 5322 hips in 4657 patients with a mean age of 59 years (13 to 94). The mean follow-up was 6.1 years (0.5 to 20). The mean Harris Hip Score improved from 46 (0 to 100) to 92 (39 to 100). The mean Oxford Hip Score improved from 25 (2 to 42.5) to 35 (12.4 to 48). The mean Western Ontario & McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index improved from 54 (2 to 95) to 22 (0 to 98). Components were aligned in a neutral coronal alignment in up to 90.9% of cases. A total of 15 studies reported component survivorship, which was 98.6% (92% to 100%) at a mean follow-up of 12.1 years.


Short-stemmed femoral implants show similar improvement in clinical and radiological outcomes compared with conventional length implants. Only mid-term survivorship, however, is known. An abundance of short components have been developed and used commercially without staged clinical trials. Long-term survival is still unknown for many of these components. There remains tension between innovation and the moral duty to ensure that the introduction of new implants is controlled until safety and patient benefit are demonstrated. Implant innovation and subsequent use should be driven by proven clinical outcomes, rather than market and financial forces, and ethical practice must be ensured.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:502–511.

Correspondence should be sent to S. Lidder; email:

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