Dislocation is the most common reason for early revision following total hip arthroplasty (THA). More than 40 years ago, Lewinnek et al. proposed an acetabular “safe zone” to avoid dislocation. While novel at the time, their study was substantially limited according to modern standards. The purpose of this study was to determine optimal acetabular cup positioning during THA as well as the effect of surgical approach on the topography of the acetabular safe zone and the hazard of dislocation.
Primary THAs that had been performed at a single institution from 2000 to 2017 were reviewed. Acetabular inclination and anteversion were measured using an artificial intelligence neural network; they were validated with performance testing and comparison with blinded grading by 2 orthopaedic surgeons. Patient demographics and dislocation were noted during follow-up. Multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression, including multidimensional analysis, was performed to define the 3D topography of the acetabular safe zone and its association with surgical approach.
We followed 9,907 THAs in 8,081 patients (4,166 women and 3,915 men; 64 ± 13 years of age) for a mean of 5 ± 3 years (range: 2 to 16); 316 hips (3%) sustained a dislocation during follow-up. The mean acetabular inclination was 44° ± 7° and the mean anteversion was 32° ± 9°. Patients who did not sustain a dislocation had a mean anteversion of 32° ± 9° (median, 32°), with the historic ideal anteversion of 15° observed to be only in the third percentile among non-dislocating THAs (p < 0.001). Multivariable modeling demonstrated the lowest dislocation hazards at an inclination of 37° and an anteversion of 27°, with an ideal modern safe zone of 27° to 47° of inclination and 18° to 38° of anteversion. Three-dimensional analysis demonstrated a similar safe-zone location but significantly different safe-zone topography among surgical approaches (p = 0.03) and sexes (p = 0.02).
Optimal acetabular positioning differs significantly from historic values, with increased anteversion providing decreased dislocation risk. Additionally, surgical approach and patient sex demonstrated clear effects on 3D safe-zone topography. Further study is needed to characterize the 3D interaction between acetabular positioning and spinopelvic as well as femoral-sided parameters.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.