[Tripolar arthroplasty for recurrent total hip prosthesis dislocation]

P-E Beaulé, X Roussignol, T-P Schmalzried, P Udomkiat, H-C Amstutz, F-H Dujardin
Revue de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Réparatrice de L'appareil Moteur 2003, 89 (3): 242-9

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of this study was to assess the results of revision surgery for recurrent total hip prosthesis dislocation using a tripolar prosthesis composed of a conventional stem with a mobile head of an intermediary prosthesis measuring more than 40 mm and a modified cup. This technique was used in two centers in Rouen France and Los Angeles USA.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty-one hips in 21 patients were operated on. The mobile heads measured 40 to 47 mm. Mean patient age was 70 years (range 29-92). The indication for the tripolar prosthesis was reserved for extremely unstable hips in patients with major risk factors for recurrent dislocation. These 21 patients had experienced 95 dislocations. The acetabular cup was custom-made for the large-diameter heads. A cemented polyethylene cup was used in 14 cases and a press-fit metal-backed around a polyethylene insert in 7. The polyethylene thickness varied from 6.5 to 16 mm for the cemented cups and 4 to 5 mm for the press-fit cups. Fourteen femoral stems were left in place as were two press-fit cups where only the inserts were changed. Mean follow-up was 5.4 years (range 3-11.8).

RESULTS: There has been no recurrent dislocation for 20 hips. One patient experienced a dislocation one week after surgery which required a second revision procedure to reposition the acetabular implant. Final outcome was good at 7.6 years for this hip. One patient who had not had any recurrent dislocation died 4 years after the revision surgery due to a cause unrelated to the prosthesis. Two patients were lost to follow-up at 3.7 and 6 years, both were pain free and had no radiological anomalies. Infection occurred in one patient undergoing chemotherapy for a myeloma; the head and neck had to be resected. For the 20 other patients, functional outcome, assessed with the UCLA score, showed improvement in pain (5.8 preoperatively, 9.2 at last follow-up), walking (4.8 and 8 respectively), function (4 and 6 respectively), and daily activities (3.3 and 5.2 respectively). A revision procedure was necessary for one patient during the 4(th) year because of a fracture of the polyethylene insert on a metal-back cup; the insert alone was changed. Excepting the patient with infection, there were no cases of certain or probable loosening during the follow-up.

DISCUSSION: The tripolar prosthesis with a mobile cup and a large-diameter head appears to be a reliable solution for these severely unstable hips. The procedure can often be limited to the acetabular component, reducing morbidity. The thickness of the polyethylene cup is a limitation which may affect long-term survival. Search for a highly wear-resistant couple continues.

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