Implant neck fracture involving a non-modular femoral stem is rare in primary total hip arthroplasty (THA). Occasional cases have been reported following laser etching of the Corailtm stem, but risk factors have not been precisely determined. We therefore performed a retrospective study on a series of Corailtm stems with laser neck etching, in order to: (1) determine the exact implant neck fracture rate at 10 years, and (2) identify associated risk factors.
Laser etching increases the rate of implant neck fracture.
Materials and methods
Between October 2002 and December 2003, 295 THAs were consecutively performed using the Corailtm stem with laser neck etching, in 286 patients: 151 male (53%), 135 female (47%); mean age, 63 years (range, 18–89 years); mean weight, 73kg (range, 45–120kg). Stems were standard in 240 cases (81%) and lateralized in 55 (19%). The main assessment criterion was stem replacement for implant neck fracture.
At a mean 10 years’ follow-up (range, 1–11 years), 11 patients were lost to follow-up (4%) and 35 had died (12%) (with stem in situ). Overall 10-year stem survival was 91% (95% CI: [87–94%]). Sixteen patients (5.4%) underwent revision surgery for implant neck fracture, 6 (2%) bone and joint infection and in 4 cases (1.3%) the stem was replaced preventively for fracture risk suspected during a revision procedure on the cup. All fractures were of the fatigue type, implicating implant neck laser etching. Mean time to fracture was 4.5 years (range, 1.4–9.8 years). Risk factors comprised: weight>80kg (P=0.002) (OR=5.7; 95% CI: 1.9–17), age<60 years (P=0.02) (OR=3.4; 95% CI: 1.2–9.6), male gender (P=0.01) (OR=14.8; 95% CI: 1.9–113) and lateralized stem (P<0.001) (OR=6.5, 95% CI: 2.3–18).
The present 5.4% fracture rate was higher than in registry data (<1%). Fracture mechanisms involved excessive stress in an area under tension, leading to fatigue fracture. Male gender, high weight and young age were risk factors, as in the literature for fatigue fracture. Location and depth of laser etching induced fatigue fracture. The study demonstrated that laser etching creates an area of weakness in the implant neck and should therefore be eschewed in this part of the femoral stem.
Level of evidence
IV, retrospective study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Stem neck fracture, Laser etching, Total hip arthroplasty, Corailtm stem