Early Mechanical Failure of a Tumoral Endoprosthesic Rotating Hinge in the Knee: Does Bumper Wear Contribute to Hyperextension Failure?

Irene Barrientos-Ruiz, Eduardo José Ortiz-Cruz, Manuel Peleteiro-Pensado, Rodrigo Merino-Rueda
Clinical Orthopaedics and related Research 2019 October 14

BACKGROUND: Tumor surgeons use a variety of endoprosthetic designs for reconstruction after bone tumor resection. However, functional results and implant survival have not been evaluated for each design. Because the outcomes and failure modes (for example, implant breakage, loosening) may differ between prosthetic design types, it is important to examine the problems associated with different designs. Because of experiences in our practice, we became concerned about a surprisingly high frequency of device breakage with one particular design, and we wished to report on that experience. QUESTION/PURPOSES: (1) In a small series of patients, what proportion of a particular design (Zimmer® Segmental [Zimmer Inc, Warsaw, IN, USA]) of rotating-hinge endoprosthesis experienced implant breakage at short-term follow-up? (2) What patient symptoms were associated with this finding? (3) What is the function as assessed by Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) score with the use of this implant before and after revision?

METHODS: We treated 87 patients in our tertiary center from 1987 to 2014 who had sarcomas around the knee with wide resection and reconstruction with tumoral endoprosthesis; five patients were lost to follow-up. In all, 33 of the remanining 82 prostheses, treated from 1987 to 2006, were reconstructed with fixed-hinge designs. From 2006 to 2014, 49 patients were reconstructed with a knee endoprosthesis, and 48 of them had a rotating-hinge prosthesis. In our center, we mostly used four designs: 16 of 49 patients were reconstructed with GMRS (Stryker Howmedica, Kalamazoo, MI, USA), seven received the LPS™ (DePuy Synthes, Warsaw, IN, USA), 20 of 49 had the METS (Stanmore, Hertfordshire, UK), and six of 49 received the Zimmer Segmental. The focus of this report is on the six patients with the Segmental. We retrospectively gathered clinical and radiologic data from these six patients' records and we assessed radiographic images. We evaluated function with the MSTS score of the 49 patients. The median follow-up duration of the Segmental prosthesis reconstruction was 65 months (range 24 to 85).

RESULTS: Three of the six patients had posterior instability and recurrent joint effusion on physical examination. Three patients who did not have hyperextension presented with restricted knee ROM. Six revision procedures were performed in three patients. The median MSTS score at 6 months for the Segmental® prosthesis was 15 of 30 (range 6 to 24). The score in the three patients who had posterior instability was 9 of 30 (range 6 to 15) and it improved to median 25 of 30 (range 19 to 30) 6 months after revision. The patients with the Segmental® prosthesis who did not undergo revision had a median MSTS score of 20 (range 16 to 24).

CONCLUSIONS: The Zimmer Segmental rotating-hinge tumoral prosthesis underwent revision for implant breakage at short term in three of six patients after tumor resection and reconstruction of the knee. Bumper breakage was associated with posterior instability that was related to wear of the bushing blocking system. We are unaware of reports of these issues by other observers or in other prosthetic designs, but we feel larger registries should be created to see if this failure mechanism has been observed by others. If so, this design needs to be improved or the blocking system should be avoided.Level of Evidence Level IV, therapeutic study.

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