Bone Joint J 2019;101-B(6 Supple B):77–83.

Increased conditional risk of recurring complications with contralateral total hip arthroplasty surgery

H. J. Roberts, E. L. Tsay, T. R. Grace, T. P. Vail, D. T. Ward


Increasingly, patients with bilateral hip arthritis wish to undergo staged total hip arthroplasty (THA). With the rise in demand for arthroplasty, perioperative risk assessment and counselling is crucial for shared decision making. However, it is unknown if complications that occur after a unilateral hip arthroplasty predict complications following surgery of the contralateral hip.

Patients and Methods

We used nationwide linked discharge data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project between 2005 and 2014 to analyze the incidence and recurrence of complications following the first- and second-stage operations in staged bilateral total hip arthroplasty (BTHAs). Complications included perioperative medical adverse events within 30 to 60 days, and infection and mechanical complications within one year. Conditional probabilities and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to determine whether experiencing a complication after the first stage of surgery increased the risk of developing the same complication after the second stage.


A total of 13 829 patients (5790 men and 8039 women) who underwent staged BTHAs were analyzed. The mean age at first operation was 62.9 years (14 to 95). For eight of the 12 outcomes evaluated, patients who experienced the outcome following the first arthroplasty had a significantly increased probability and odds of developing that same complication following the second arthroplasty, compared with those who did not experience the complication after the first surgery. This was true for digestive complications (OR 25.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.86 to 46.08; p < 0.001), urinary complications (OR 6.48, 95% CI 1.7 to 20.73; p = 0.01), haematoma (OR 12.17, 95% CI 4.55 to 31.14; p < 0.001), deep vein thrombosis (OR 4.82, 95% CI 2.34 to 9.65; p < 0.001), pulmonary embolism (OR 12.03, 95% CI 2.02 to 46.77; p = 0.01), deep hip infection (OR 534.21, 95% CI 314.96 to 909.25; p < 0.001), superficial hip infection (OR 1574.99, 95% CI 269.83 to 9291.81; p < 0.001), and mechanical malfunction (OR 117.49, 95% CI 91.55 to 150.34; p < 0.001).


The occurrence of certain complications after unilateral THA is associated with an increased risk of the same complication occurring after staged arthroplasty of the contralateral hip. Patients who experience these complications after unilateral hip arthroplasty should be appropriately counselled regarding their risk profile prior to undergoing staged contralateral hip arthroplasty.

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