Total hip replacement for acetabular fractures. Results in 121 patients operated between 1983 and 2003

A Sermon, P Broos, P Vanderschot
Injury 2008, 39 (8): 914-21

UNLABELLED: Total hip replacement has an important role in the treatment of acetabular fractures. Immediate total hip arthroplasty is only indicated for some rare cases but late reconstruction is performed more frequently and may follow failed non-operative or operative treatment of the original acetabular fracture.

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study is to determine the results of the use of total hip replacement for the treatment of acetabular fractures and to compare the results of the early and late reconstruction group.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 121 acetabular fractures treated with total hip arthroplasty between 1983 and 2003 at the University Hospitals Gasthuisberg in Leuven, Belgium were retrospectively studied. The patients were divided into two groups. In the "early reconstruction group" total hip arthroplasty was performed as primary treatment of the acetabular fracture. In the "late reconstruction group": total hip arthroplasty was performed following failed operative or non-operative treatment of the acetabular fracture. The indications for total hip arthroplasty and the surgical technique in both the early and late reconstruction group were compared. Secondly, complications were reviewed in both groups and a functional scoring system was applied for each patient.

RESULTS: Primarily there was a significant difference in the age of the patient population of each group with a predominance for older patients in the early reconstruction group. Secondly, less revisions were performed in the early reconstruction group: 8% compared to 22% in the late reconstruction group.

DISCUSSION: The results obtained in our patient groups were compared to the results found in literature by a Medline search. In general, our results were comparable to the results found in literature but a remarkable difference was found between different authors.

CONCLUSION: Total hip replacement for acetabular fractures is rarely indicated in the acute phase. After failed treatment of an acetabular fracture, total hip replacement has to be considered as a salvage procedure. In both cases, one may not forget total hip arthroplasty is a severe intervention associated with a high number of complications.

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