Background: Hemiarthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty are commonly used to treat displaced intracapsular fractures of the femoral neck, but each has disadvantages and the optimal treatment of these fractures remains controversial.
Methods: In the present prospectively randomized study, eighty-one patients who had been mobile and lived independently before they had sustained a displaced fracture of the femoral neck were randomized to receive either a total hip arthroplasty or a hemiarthroplasty. The mean age of the patients was seventy-five years. Outcome was assessed with use of the Oxford hip score, and final radiographs were assessed.
Results: After a mean duration of follow-up of three years, the mean walking distance was 1.17 mi (1.9 km) for the hemiarthroplasty group and 2.23 mi (3.6 km) for the total hip arthroplasty group, and the mean Oxford hip score was 22.3 for the hemiarthroplasty group and 18.8 for the total hip arthroplasty group. Patients in the total hip arthroplasty group walked farther (p = 0.039) and had a lower (better) Oxford hip score (p = 0.033) than those in the hemiarthroplasty group. Twenty of thirty-two living patients in the hemiarthroplasty group had radiographic evidence of acetabular erosion at the time of the final follow-up. None of the hips in the hemiarthroplasty group dislocated, whereas three hips in the total hip arthroplasty group dislocated. In the hemiarthroplasty group, two hips were revised to total hip arthroplasty and three additional hips had acetabular erosion severe enough to indicate revision. In the total hip arthroplasty group, one hip was revised because of subsidence of the femoral component.
Conclusions: Total hip arthroplasty conferred superior short-term clinical results and fewer complications when compared with hemiarthroplasty in this prospectively randomized study of mobile, independent patients who had sustained a displaced fracture of the femoral neck.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.