Risk factors for femoral stem breakage: an analysis of the AOANJRR results

Mark S Rickman, Peter L Lewis, Daud Ts Chou, William Donnelly, Stephen E Graves, Michelle Lorimer
Hip International: the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Research on Hip Pathology and Therapy 2019 April 4, : 1120700019839206

INTRODUCTION: Breakage of the femoral stem component of a total hip replacement is now uncommon but continues to be seen with certain stem designs and in certain patient groups. Data previously published on this topic has been limited, either gathered from a single surgeon or centre, or included only a single stem design.

METHODS: We reviewed the data from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR), identified and analysed 143 stem breakages over a period of 16 years, covering 44 different stem designs.

RESULTS: Our data confirms previously published findings that risk factors for stem breakage include patient age at implantation of under 70, male gender, as well as the use of exchangeable necks. We found no association with initial diagnosis, or type of acetabular component implanted. We did however also find, excluding exchangeable neck designs, that after 4.5 years a cemented stem had a significantly higher risk of breakage then a cementless stem.

DISCUSSION: To our knowledge this is the 1st paper to suggest cemented fixation as a specific risk factor for stem breakage. The analysis of rare complications such as stem breakage is only possible through large data collection systems such as the AOANJRR. Whilst there have been recent advances in materials and manufacturing techniques, we recommend that surgeons are aware of all the specific risks when considering implant choices for individual patients.

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