We compared the clinical and radiological outcomes of two cementless femoral stems in the treatment of patients with a Garden III or IV fracture of the femoral neck. A total of 70 patients (70 hips) in each group were enrolled into a prospective randomised study. One group received a short anatomical cementless stem and the other received a conventional cementless stem. Their mean age was 74.9 years (50 to 94) and 76.0 years (55 to 96), respectively (p = 0.328). The mean follow-up was 4.1 years (2 to 5) and 4.8 years (2 to 6), respectively. Perfusion lung scans and high resolution chest CTs were performed to detect pulmonary microemboli.
At final follow-up there were no statistically significant differences between the short anatomical and the conventional stems with regard to the mean Harris hip score (85.7 (66 to 100) versus 86.5 (55 to 100); p = 0.791), the mean Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (17 (6 to 34) versus 16 (5 to 35); p = 0.13) or the mean University of California, Los Angeles activity score (5 (3 to 6) versus 4 (3 to 6); p = 0.032). No patient with a short stem had thigh pain, but 11 patients (16%) with a conventional stem had thigh pain. No patients with a short stem had symptomatic pulmonary microemboli, but 11 patients with a conventional stem had pulmonary microemboli (symptomatic in three patients and asymptomatic in eight patients). One hip (1.4%) in the short stem group and eight (11.4%) in the conventional group had an intra-operative undisplaced fracture of the calcar. No component was revised for aseptic loosening in either group. One acetabular component in the short stem group and two acetabular components in the conventional stem group were revised for recurrent dislocation.
Our study demonstrated that despite the poor bone quality in these elderly patients with a fracture of the femoral neck, osseo-integration was obtained in all hips in both groups. However, the incidence of thigh pain, pulmonary microemboli and peri-prosthetic fracture was significantly higher in the conventional stem group than in the short stem group.
The authors would like to thank L. N. Lim, RN, for her participation in the pre-operative enrolment of the patients to a randomisation table in sequential order. The authors also thank Ms S-M. Lee, BA, for help with collecting and analysing the data.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
- Received January 17, 2012.
- Accepted February 24, 2012.
- ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery