The Role of Constrained Liners in Total Hip Arthroplasty

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Recurrent instability after total hip replacement is a complex problem with extensive literature detailing multiple etiologies and solutions. It has been shown that the success of surgical treatment depends on the identification of the cause. Unfortunately, in certain situations, there may not be an optimal solution for dealing with the cause, or the cause may remain unidentified. In these cases, the success rate of surgical treatment of the unstable total hip replacement is only 40% to 50%. Constrained acetabular liners were developed to address the problem of recurrent instability by holding the femoral head captive within the socket. Before the use of constrained liners, there were no reliable solutions to dislocation arising from inadequate soft tissues, a deficient abductor mechanism, or neuromuscular disorders. We have used a constrained liner for these situations, with poor patient compliance and instability without a clear cause as relative indications for its use. Our experience with attaining joint stability using one type of constrained liner has resulted in a 97.6% success rate (83 of 85 hips) at 4.8 years, surpassing the outcomes achieved by other means. The intermediate followup after implantation of a constrained liner has not shown significant rates of component wear or loosening.

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