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Polyethylene Wear After Total Hip Arthroplasty: The Effect of a Modular Femoral Head with an Extended Flange-Reinforced Neck*

URQUHART, ANDREW G. M.D.†; D'LIMA, DARRYL D. M.D.†; VENN-WATSON, ERIC B.A.†; COLWELL, CLIFFORD W. JR., M.D.†; WALKER, RICHARD H. M.D.†, LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: November 1998 - Volume 80 - Issue 11 - p 1641–7
Article

The use of modular components in total hip arthroplasty has been thought to contribute to accelerated polyethylene wear. Specifically, a modular femoral head with a flange extension and a longer neck may cause increased wear. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effect of a flange extension on polyethylene wear. Ninety-one patients who had had a total of 100 primary total hip arthroplasties were evaluated after an intermediate duration of follow-up. All of the acetabular components consisted of a hemispherical titanium-alloy fiber-mesh porous-coated shell with a nonelevated modular polyethylene liner; they were inserted without cement and with use of supplemental screws through the dome after so-called line-to-line reaming. All of the femoral components consisted of a modular head with a diameter of twenty-eight millimeters and either a long neck (with a flange extension) or a short or medium neck (without a flange extension). The study group comprised sixty-two patients (sixty-six hips) who had had radiographic evaluation that was adequate to allow the valid measurement of polyethylene wear. Thirty-two hips were in men, and thirty-four were in women. The mean age of the patients was fifty-six years, the mean weight was seventy-three kilograms, and the mean duration of follow-up was 6.1 years (range, four to eight years). The rate of polyethylene wear in the eleven hips in which the femoral component had a flange extension was significantly greater than that in the fifty-five in which the femoral component did not have a flange extension (mean, 0.17 compared with 0.11 millimeter per year; p = 0.009). Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of a flange extension was associated with increased polyethylene wear to a greater degree (F = 2.86) than were all other variables that were measured, including a younger age (F = 1.72), a more vertical angle of the acetabular component (F = 0.49), a heavier weight (F = 0.14), male gender (F = 0.11), and a smaller initial thickness of the polyethylene (F = 0.02). These data support an association between the presence of a modular femoral head with a flange extension and an accelerated rate of polyethylene wear. The presumed mechanism is an increase in peripheral, or so-called rim, impingement of the flange-reinforced neck on the acetabulum due to a decrease in the ratio between the diameters of the femoral head and neck.

†Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Scripps Clinic, 10666 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037.

Copyright 1998 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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