J Orthop Surg Res 6, 55 (2011).

Is there added risk in resurfacing a femoral head with cysts?

Gross, T.P., Liu, F.


Femoral head cysts have been identified as a risk factor for early femoral failures after metal-on-metal hip resurfacing arthroplasty (HRA) based on limited scientific data. However, we routinely performed HRA if less than 1/3 of the femoral head appeared destroyed by cysts on the preoperative radiograph. This study was undertaken to analyze whether there was an added risk of early femoral failures in HRA when femoral head cysts were present.


This retrospective case-control study included 939 MOM HRAs operated by a single surgeon with use of the posterior minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approach between November 2005 and January 2009. Patients with all diagnoses except osteonecrosis were included. Among them, 117 HRAs had femoral head cysts ≥ 1 cm identified in surgery. All cysts were treated with bone grafting using acetabular reamings packed into the cavitary defect (instead of filling the cysts with cement). The control group, which had no cyst observed at the time of surgery, was randomly selected from our database using computer algorithms to match those cases in the study group for the parameters of surgical date, age, gender, body mass index, diagnosis, femoral fixation method, and the size of the femoral component.


The minimum follow-up was 24 months for both groups. The early femoral failure rate in the study group was 3/117 (2.6%) and 0/117 in the control group; there was no statistical difference between these two groups (P = 0.08). In the study group, there were two femoral neck fractures (revised): both occurred in patients having a cyst size of 1 cm3; and there was one femoral component loosening at 3-year follow up in a patient having a cyst size of 2 cm3.


Although the risk of early femoral failures among the group with cysts appeared higher than the group without cysts, we could not demonstrate a significant statistical difference between the two groups. It is possible that bone grafting cysts rather than cementing them may account for the low failure rate, and that this technique may minimize the risk of resurfacing a femoral head with cysts.

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