The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Scientific Articles: 03 December 2020 - Volume 103 - Issue 2 - p. 139-145

Impingement Between the Metal Stem and the Ceramic Liner in Total Hip Arthroplasty

Lee, Sunhyung, MD; Yoo, Jeong Joon, MD, PhD; Kim, Hee Joong, MD, PhD
Background: It is assumed that impingement between the ceramic liner and the stem increases the possibility of a liner fracture in total hip arthroplasty with a ceramic-on-ceramic bearing. The purpose of this study was to analyze the pattern of the impingement by evaluating the notches (U-shaped indented wear scars engraved on the stem) on radiographs to determine when and where impingement develops and to analyze the factors affecting its occurrence.
Methods: Among the primary total hip arthroplasty cases using a ceramic-on-ceramic bearing performed from November 1997 to December 2003, 244 cases of 197 patients (123 male patients and 74 female patients) that had follow-up of ≥15 years were included. All of the radiographs were examined with special regard to the notches and the cup positions.
Results: Notches were detected at 77 sites of 57 cases (23.4%) for the first time between 8 months and 14.8 years after the surgical procedure. They were located on the neck or the shoulder of the stem. Shoulder notches were detected only in the cases with a short-neck head. Shoulder notches were found in 29 cases (20.0% of short-neck cases). Cup inclination was lower (p = 0.01) and anteversion was higher (p = 0.01) in the group with notches than the group without notches. There were 5 cases of ceramic head fracture. One of them experienced another ceramic liner fracture, assumed to be caused by prosthetic shoulder impingement, after the revision surgical procedure.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that impingement between the stem and the ceramic liner occurs in a considerable proportion of patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty not only on the neck but also on the shoulder of the stem. Forceful and abrupt impingement on the stem shoulder can cause ceramic liner fracture. Impingement between the stem shoulder and the ceramic liner should be considered in designing a stem. It seems to be prudent to recommend that patients avoid squatting or sitting cross-legged on the floor as much as possible.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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