Recognizing Anterior Metaphyseal Femoral Bone Loss During Uncemented Total Hip Arthroplasty: The Skylight Sign

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abstractDuring preparation for uncemented femoral arthroplasty, a phenomenon has been observed that indicates thinning of anterior metaphyseal bone to a critical level. Light can be seen from within the canal passing through the anterior cortex. This skylight sign alerts the surgeon that a cortical defect or fracture can occur on reaming, broaching, or component insertion. In 420 consecutive arthroplasties, a skylight sign was noted in 97 (23%) hips. In 5 of those hips an oval cortical defect was created and in 3 hips a fracture occurred during broaching or insertion. Loosening developed in 1 hip with fracture. No fractures or defects occurred in hips without a skylight sign. If a skylight sign is present, the femur is at risk and preventive measures should be taken.

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