International Orthopaedics July 2011, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 981–987

The association between the sagittal femoral stem alignment and the resulting femoral head centre in total hip arthroplasty

Müller, M., Crucius, D., Perka, C. et al.

Adequate stem alignment is essential for the success of Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) to avoid dislocation and impingement. One factor that has not been sufficiently investigated so far is the stem tilting in the sagittal plane, which has an influence on the position of the centre of the femoral head and thus also on prosthesis torsion. We aimed to evaluate sagittal stem position using 3D-CTs in patients with THA and to develop a mathematical-geometrical model to simulate the functional correlation between sagittal stem tilting and the influence on functional anteversion. Thirty patients with THA underwent a CT-scan. By 3D-reconstruction of the CT-data, femoral-/prosthesis-axis, torsion and sagittal tilt were determined. In accordance with the position of the femoral and prosthesis axes, the rotatory (rAV) (surgically adjusted) and functional (depending on sagittal tilt) anteversion (fAV) was measured. A three dimentional-coordinate transformation was also performed using the Euler-angles to derive a mathematical-geometrical correlation between sagittal stem tilting and corresponding influence on anteversion. The mean rAV was 8° (-11.6 – 26°), the fAV 18° (6.2 – 37°), and the difference 10° (8.8 – 18°). The mean degree of stem tilting was 5.2° (0.7 – 9°) anterior towards the femoral axis. The individually measured parameters are reflected in the mathematical-geometrical model. Depending on the extent of the sagittal deviation, a clear influence on the torsion emerges. For example, a stem implanted at a 15° anteverted angle with a sagittal tilt by two degrees towards anterior results in a fAV of 20°. A clear association between the sagittal stem alignment and the impact on the fAV was demonstrated. Hence, the rotatory anteversion intended by the surgeon may be functionally significantly different. This might pose an increased risk of dislocation or impingement. The sagittal tilt of the prosthesis should therefore be considered in the context of impingement and dislocation diagnosis. In this respect, we recommend a 3D-analysis of stem alignment.

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