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Surgical Treatment of Fractures of the Greater Trochanter Associated with Osteolytic Lesions

Wang, Jun-Wen MD; Chen, Liang-Kuang MD; Chen, Chin-En MD

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: December 2005 - Volume 87 - Issue 12 - p 2724–2728
doi: 10.2106/JBJS.D.02857
Scientific Articles
Supplementary Content

Background: A fracture of the greater trochanter through an osteolytic lesion may occur as a late complication after total hip arthroplasty. The optimal treatment for this difficult complication remains controversial. We have treated this problem with internal fixation and allogeneic bone-grafting at the time of revision of a loose acetabular component.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the results of treatment of a fracture through an osteolytic lesion of the greater trochanter in nineteen patients seen from 1996 to 2002. All fractures were treated with morselized allogeneic bone grafts and wire fixation at the time of revision of a failed acetabular component. Postoperative care included the use of an abduction orthosis and protected weight-bearing for at least three months. Follow-up of all patients consisted of radiographic examinations and clinical evaluation with use of the Harris hip score.

Results: At an average duration of 3.8 years after the revision, eighteen of the nineteen fractures had healed. The average time to healing was five months. The one treatment failure occurred in a patient who did not comply with the use of an abduction orthosis. The average Harris hip score for all patients improved from 32.5 points preoperatively to 91.2 points at the time of the latest follow-up. Polyethylene wear and recurrent osteolysis of the greater trochanter was noted in one hip at the eight-year follow-up examination.

Conclusions: Fractures of the greater trochanter associated with osteolytic lesions can be effectively treated with open reduction, internal fixation with wire, and allogeneic bone-grafting.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Kaohsiung, 123, Ta Pei Road, Niao Sung Hsiang, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China. E-mail address for J.-W. Wang:

2 Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Shin-Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, 95, Wen Chang Road, Shin Lin, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China

Copyright 2005 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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