BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:289

Total hip arthroplasty following failure of tantalum rod implantation for osteonecrosis of the femoral head with 5- to 10-year follow-up

Qi Cheng, Jin-long Tang, Jiang-jiang Gu, Kai-jin Guo, Wang-shou Guo, Bai-liang Wang and Feng-chao Zhao


Total hip arthroplasty (THA) with failure of tantalum rod implant for osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) will be the only choice for patients. However,it remains unknown whether tantalum rod implantation has an adverse effect on the survival time of implants following conversion to THA. The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the clinical and radiographic outcomes of conversion to THA in patients who were previously treated with implantation of a tantalum rod.


This study included 31 patients (39 hips), who underwent conversion to THA due to failure of core decompression with an implanted tantalum rod. Among these 31 patients, 26 patients were male and five patients were female. The mean age of these patients was 49.3 years old (range: 36–64 years old). The control group included 33 patients (40 hips), who underwent total hip replacement without tantalum rod implantation. The hip Harris score, implant wear, osteolysis, radiolucencies and surgical complications were recorded during the follow-up. The distribution of tantalum debris in the proximal, middle and distal periprosthetic femoral regions, radiolucent lines and osteolysis were analyzed on post-operative radiographs.


There were no significant differences in Harris score, liner wear and complications between the two groups (P > 0.05). Osteolysis and radiolucent lines more likely occurred in patients with tantalum debris distributed in three regions than in one or two regions (P < 0.05).


The mid-term clinical outcome of patients who underwent THA with tantalum rod implantation was not different from those without a tantalum rod, suggesting that tantalum debris did not increase the liner wear rate. However, the distribution of periprosthetic tantalum debris in the proximal, middle and distal femoral regions may increase the risk of femoral osteolysis and radiolucent lines.

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