Acta Orthopaedica, 83:6, 648-652, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2012.747925

Periprosthetic Vancouver type B1 and C fractures treated by locking-plate osteosynthesis

Lonnie Froberg, Anders Troelsen & Michael Brix

Background and purpose Historically, the treatment of periprosthetic femoral fractures (PFFs) has been associated with a high frequency of complications and reoperations. The preferred treatment is internal fixation, a revision of the femoral stem, or a combination of both. An improved understanding of plate use during internal fixation, and the introduction of locking-plate osteosynthesis may lead to improved outcome. We evaluated the outcome of Vancouver type B1 and C PFFs treated by locking-plate osteosynthesis, by assessing rates of fracture union and reoperations and by analyzing failure cases.

Patients and methods From 2002 through 2011, 58 consecutive patients (60 fractures) with low-energy PFF around or below a stable femoral stem, i.e. Vancouver type B1 and C fractures, underwent osteosynthesis with a locking plate. All patients had a total hip replacement (THR). They were followed up clinically and radiographically, with 6 weeks between visits, until fracture union or until death. Fracture union was evaluated 6 months postoperatively.

Results At a median follow-up time of 23 (0–121) months after PFF, 8 patients (8 fractures) had been reoperated due either to infection (n = 4), failure of fixation (n = 3), or loosening of the femoral stem (n = 1). All the patients who had been followed up for at least 6 months—and who did not undergo reoperation or die—went on to fracture union (n = 43).

Interpretation Locking-plate osteosynthesis of periprosthetic Vancouver type B1 and C fractures gives good results regarding fracture union. It appears that spanning of the prosthesis to avoid stress-rising areas is important for successful treatment. Infection is the major cause of failure.

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