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Outcomes of operatively treated interprosthetic femoral fractures

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The prevalence of ipsilateral total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is rising in concert with life expectancy, putting more patients at risk for interprosthetic femur fractures (IPFFs). Our study aimed to assess treatment methodologies, implant survivorship, and IPFF clinical outcomes.


A total of 76 patients treated for an IPFF from February 1985 to April 2018 were reviewed. Prior to fracture, at the hip/knee sites respectively, 46 femora had primary/primary, 21 had revision/primary, three had primary/revision, and six had revision/revision components. Mean age and BMI were 74 years (33 to 99) and 30 kg/m2 (21 to 46), respectively. Mean follow-up after fracture treatment was seven years (2 to 24).


Overall, 59 fractures were classified as Vancouver C (Unified Classification System (UCS) D), 17 were Vancouver B (UCS B). In total, 57 patients (75%) were treated with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF); three developed nonunion, three developed periprosthetic joint infection, and two developed aseptic loosening. In all, 18 patients (24%) underwent revision arthroplasty including 13 revision THAs, four distal femoral arthroplasties (DFAs), and one revision TKA: of these, one patient developed aseptic loosening and two developed nonunion. Survivorship free from any reoperation was 82% (95% confidence interval (CI) 66.9% to 90.6%) and 77% (95% CI 49.4% to 90.7%) in the ORIF and revision groups at two years, respectively. ORIF patients who went on to union tended to have stemmed knee components and greater mean interprosthetic distance (IPD = 189 mm (SD 73.6) vs 163 mm (SD 36.7); p = 0.546) than nonunited fractures. Patients who went on to nonunion in the revision arthroplasty group had higher medullary diameter: cortical width ratio (2.5 (SD 1.7) vs 1.3 (SD 0.3); p = 0.008) and lower IPD (36 mm (SD 30.6) vs 214 mm (SD 32.1); p < 0.001). At latest follow-up, 95% of patients (n = 72) were ambulatory.


Interprosthetic femur fractures are technically and biologically challenging cases. Individualized approaches to internal fixation versus revision arthroplasty led to an 81% (95% CI 68.3% to 88.6%) survivorship free from reoperation at two years with 95% of patients ambulatory. Continued improvements in management are warranted.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(7 Supple B):122–128.

Correspondence should be sent to Matthew P. Abdel. E-mail:

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