Inadequate Metadiaphyseal Fill of a Modern Taper-Wedge Stem Increases Subsidence and Risk of Aseptic Loosening: Technique and Distal Canal Fill Matter!

Lucian C. Warth, Tanner W. Grant, Neal B. Naveen, Evan R. Deckard, Mary Ziemba-Davis, R. Michael Meneghini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Adequate interference fit and mechanical stability through optimal surgical technique are essential to prevent subsidence and loosening in cementless total hip arthroplasty. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of surgical technique on radiographic subsidence and subsequent stability of a modern taper-wedge cementless stem. Methods: A retrospective review of 250 consecutive cementless primary total hip arthroplasties performed by 2 surgeons was completed. Surgeon A vigorously broached, maximizing the mediolateral stem dimension and confirmed final broach stability with a torsional test, whereas Surgeon B did not. All patients received identical taper-wedge stems. Preoperative bone morphology (canal flare index), postoperative subsidence, and canal fill were radiographically assessed. Results: Canal flare index was not different between groups (P = .747). There was significantly less subsidence at 1 month for Surgeon A (0.3 vs 1.3 mm, P < .001). Additional subsidence at 1 year occurred in only 0.8% of Surgeon A (1/119) compared to 51.6% of Surgeon B stems (33/64, P < .001). Surgeon technique and canal fill measured at 60 mm below the lesser trochanter were the only variables predictive for subsidence, where Surgeon A and B had a mean canal fill of 95% and 86%, respectively. Surgeon B had 2 cases of aseptic loosening (2%) at 2 and 3 years postoperatively. Conclusion: These observations support that maximizing mediolateral canal fill and avoiding under-sizing the femoral implant with meticulous broaching technique minimizes subsidence and optimizes stability of modern cementless taper-wedge stems. Failure to optimize canal fill with appropriate broaching and surgical technique may predispose femoral components to failure from aseptic loosening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • femoral canal fill
  • subsidence
  • surgical technique
  • taper-wedge stem
  • total hip arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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