Ultrashort versus Conventional Anatomic Cementless Femoral Stems in the Same Patients Younger Than 55 Years

Young-Hoo Kim, Jang-Won Park, Jun-Shik Kim
Clinical Orthopaedics and related Research 2016, 474 (9): 2008-17

BACKGROUND: Because the clinical and radiographic performance of an ultrashort anatomic cementless stem has been investigated in only two randomized controlled studies, well-designed trials should aim for a thorough comparison of the outcomes of ultrashort anatomic cementless and conventional anatomic cementless stems.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: The purposes of this study were to compare (1) the clinical results, including Harris hip score, thigh pain, and WOMAC index score, (2) radiographic results, (3) bone mineral density; and (4) proportions of patients undergoing revision of a THA using an ultrashort anatomic cementless stem versus a conventional anatomic cementless stem in the same patients who underwent bilateral sequential THAs under the same anesthetic.

METHODS: Two hundred patients (mean age, 53 years; range, 26-54 years) who underwent bilateral sequential THAs received an ultrashort anatomic cementless stem in one hip and a conventional anatomic cementless stem in the contralateral hip. From January 2004 to December 2005, we performed 524 same-day bilateral short and conventional anatomic cementless THAs in 262 patients, of whom 212 (81%) participated in this study. Five patients were lost to followup before 2 years, five were lost between 2 to 10 years, and two were lost between 10 to 13 years, leaving 200 patients. Patients who had end-stage bilateral hip disease and were younger than 55 years were selected for inclusion. The predominant diagnoses were osteonecrosis (118 patients, 59%) and osteoarthritis (44 patients, 22%). One hundred thirty-eight were men and 62 were women. At the time of each followup, the patients were assessed clinically and radiographically. In addition, each patient completed the WOMAC and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) activity scores. The minimum followup was 10 years (mean, 11.8 years; range, 10-13 years). Followups were done in person, with all images and followup clinic notes. Based on the power analysis, we estimated a sample size of 178 hips was needed in each group to detect a 3-point difference in the Harris hip score with 80% power.

RESULTS: At the latest followup, there were no differences between the two groups regarding the mean Harris hip scores (94 versus 94 points; p = 0.189), mean WOMAC scores (17 versus 16 points; p = 0.191), or mean UCLA activity scores (9 versus 9 points; p = 0.381). Two patients in the ultrashort stem group and one patient in the conventional stem group had severe (9 points) thigh pain, and 30 patients (15%) in the conventional stem group had mild thigh pain (2 or 3 points) after vigorous exercise. Bone mineral density in the ultrashort and conventional stem groups, respectively, was greater in the ultrashort stem group than in the conventional stem group. Bone mineral density in Zone 1 at 12 years was 3.29 versus 1.88 g/cm(2) (p = 0.021), and 2.97 versus 0.91 g/m(2) in Zone 7 (p = 0.001). With the numbers available, there were no differences between the stem designs in terms of the proportion undergoing revision (one hip, 0.5%, in the short-stem group versus one hip, 0.5%, in the conventional group; p = 1.881).

CONCLUSIONS: At followup into the second decade, ultrashort stems showed no differences from conventional cementless stems in terms of validated outcomes scores or fixation, although less stress shielding was observed. Reduction of stress shielding may reduce the long-term risk of periprosthetic fracture, but this was not shown in our study.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, therapeutic study.

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