Reported rates of dislocation in hip hemiarthroplasty (HA) for the treatment of intracapsular fractures of the hip, range between 1% and 10%. HA is frequently performed through a direct lateral surgical approach. The aim of this study is to determine the contribution of the anterior capsule to the stability of a cemented HA through a direct lateral approach.
A total of five whole-body cadavers were thawed at room temperature, providing ten hip joints for investigation. A Thompson HA was cemented in place via a direct lateral approach. The cadavers were then positioned supine, both knee joints were disarticulated and a digital torque wrench was attached to the femur using a circular frame with three half pins. The wrench applied an external rotation force with the hip in extension to allow the hip to dislocate anteriorly. Each hip was dislocated twice; once with a capsular repair and once without repairing the capsule. Stratified sampling ensured the order in which this was performed was alternated for the paired hips on each cadaver.
Comparing peak torque force in hips with the capsule repaired and peak torque force in hips without repair of the capsule, revealed a significant difference between the ‘capsule repaired’ (mean 22.96 Nm, standard deviation (sd) 4.61) and the ‘capsule not repaired’ group (mean 5.6 Nm, SD 2.81) (p < 0.001). Capsular repair may help reduce the risk of hip dislocation following HA.