Femoral fracture during non-cemented total hip arthroplasty.

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A study of the data on 1,318 consecutive non-cemented total hip-replacement arthroplasties revealed thirty-nine intraoperative fractures of the femur (3 per cent), only half of which were diagnosed intraoperatively. The fractures occurred in the proximal region of the femur or at the tip of the stem of the prosthesis. Most were incomplete and minimally displaced, and they did not jeopardize the stability of the femoral component. All complete proximal fractures were stabilized with a four-fifths-coated or fully coated prosthesis to provide distal fixation, and, when diagnosed intraoperatively, were fixed with cerclage wiring. When an incomplete fracture near the tip of the stem was discovered postoperatively and the posterior part of the femoral cortex was intact, a spica cast was applied, and the patient was instructed in protected weight-bearing. For a complete fracture at the tip of the stem, we recommend open reduction and internal fixation. No statistical difference was found with respect to residual pain, the score for walking, or the stability of the implant when we compared the results for the patients who had a fracture with those for the patients who did not. Modifications in surgical technique resulted in a decrease in the incidence of fractures (p less than 0.05).

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