How Often Does Spindle Failure Occur in Compressive Osseointegration Endoprostheses for Oncologic Reconstruction?

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Compressive osseointegration is a promising modality for limb salvage in distal femoral oncologic tumors. However, few studies have explored short-term survival rates in a large patient cohort of distal femur compressive endoprostheses or highlighted the risk factors for spindle failures.


We asked: (1) What is the frequency of compressive osseointegration spindle failure in distal femoral reconstructions? (2) What are the characteristics of rotational failure cases with distal femur compressive osseointegration endoprostheses? (3) What are the risk factors for mechanical and rotational failure of distal femur compressive osseointegration implantation? (4) What are other modalities of failure or causes of revision surgery, which affect patients undergoing distal femur compressive osseointegration implantation for oncologic reconstruction?


Between 1996 and 2013, 127 distal femoral reconstructions with the Compress® prosthesis were performed in 121 patients. During that time, 116 Compress® prostheses were implanted for aggressive primary tumors of the distal femur and/or failure of previous oncologic reconstruction. This approach represented approximately 91% of the distal femoral reconstructions performed during that time. Of the patients with prostheses implanted, four patients (four of 116, 3%) had died, and 37 (37 of 116, 32%) were lost to followup before 24 months. The median followup was 84 months (range, 24-198 months), and 71 patients (66% of all patients) were seen within the last 3 years. A retrospective chart review was performed to determine failure modality as defined by radiographs, clinical history, and intraoperative findings. Risk factors including age, sex, BMI, resection length, and perioperative chemotherapy were analyzed to determine effect on spindle and rotational failure rates. Survival analysis was determined using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. Differences in survival between groups were analyzed using the log rank test. Risk factors were determined using Cox proportional hazard modeling.


Spindle survival at 5 and 10 years was 91% (95% CI, 82%-95%). Survival rates from rotational failure at 5 and 10 years were 92% (95% CI, 83%-96%); the majority of failures occurred within the first 2 years postoperatively and were the result of a twisting mechanism of injury. With the numbers available, none of the potential risk factors examined were associated with mechanical failure. The 5-year and 10-year all-cause revision-free survival rates were 57% (95% CI, 44%-67%) and 50% (95% CI, 36%-61%), respectively.


Distal femur compressive osseointegration is a viable method for endoprosthetic reconstruction. Rotational failure is rare with the majority occurring early. No variables were found to correlate with increased risk of mechanical failure. More research is needed to evaluate methods of preventing mechanical and rotational failures in addition to other common causes of revision such as infection in these massive endoprosthetic reconstructions.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study.

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