We determined the long-term results of total hip replacement in a series of young patients who had ankylosing spondylitis. Between 1966 and 1978, forty-three Charnley low-friction arthroplasties were performed in twenty-four patients who had an average age of 28.8 years (range, nineteen to thirty-nine years) at the time of the operation. There were seventeen men and seven women. The average duration of follow-up for the series was 22.7 years (range, one month [a perioperative death] to 30.3 years). Four patients (seven hips) had died an average of 12.6 years (range, one month to 18.7 years) after the operation. The twenty surviving patients had clinical and radiographic follow-up until the time of writing or until both of the original components had been revised. All patients had substantial relief of pain and improvement of function and the range of motion of the joint. Twenty-one patients (88 per cent; thirty-nine hips) were completely free of pain (6 points, according to the scale of Merle d'Aubigné and Postel), and the remainder had only slight discomfort (5 points). Ten acetabular components and one femoral component were revised because of aseptic loosening, and one patient had a revision of both components because of late deep infection. Three additional femoral components were revised during a revision operation for a loose acetabular component. Although the femoral components were not loose, they had been in place for more than ten years and it was thought likely that the bearing surface was damaged. The average time to revision was 13.3 years (range, 4.0 to 20.3 years). At an average of 22.7 years, thirty-eight (88 per cent) of the original femoral components and thirty-two (74 per cent) of the original acetabular components remained in situ. The average annual rate of acetabular wear was 0.12 millimeter for the entire series. Only six hips (14 per cent) had minor heterotopic ossification, and none of the hips had clinically important ossification (class III or IV according to the system of Brooker et al.). To our knowledge, the present report describes the largest series of total hip arthroplasties, with the longest duration of follow-up, in young patients who had ankylosing spondylitis. Survivorship analysis with use of the Kaplan-Meier method revealed that the probability of survival of the femoral component (with 95 per cent confidence intervals) was 91 per cent (83 to 99 per cent) at twenty years and 83 per cent (72 to 94 per cent) at thirty years. The probability of survival of the acetabular components was 73 per cent (61 to 84 per cent) at twenty years and 70 per cent (57 to 83 per cent) at thirty years. The probability that both components would survive was 91 per cent (82 to 100 per cent) at ten years, 73 per cent (61 to 84 per cent) at twenty years, and 70 per cent (57 to 83 per cent) at thirty years. The Charnley low-friction arthroplasty provided consistently good long-term results, with a low rate of complications and revisions, in this group of young patients.
†7 Woodlea, Walkden Road, Worsley, Manchester M28 2QJ, United Kingdom.
‡The Center for Hip Surgery, Wrightington Hospital, Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, Lancashire WN6 9EP, United Kingdom.