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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2006 Jan;88(1):26-30.

Risk factors for failure after treatment of a periprosthetic fracture of the femur.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg University, SE-41345 Gotëborg, Sweden.


Periprosthetic fracture of the femur is an uncommon complication after total hip replacement, but appears to be increasing. We undertook a nationwide observational study to determine the risk factors for failure after treatment of these fractures, examining patient- and implant-related factors, the classification of the fractures and the outcome. Between 1979 and 2000, 1049 periprosthetic fractures of the femur were reported to the Swedish National Hip Arthroplasty Register. Of these, 245 had a further operation after failure of their initial management. Data were collected from the Register and hospital records. The material was analysed by the use of Poisson regression models. It was found that the risk of failure of treatment was reduced for Vancouver type B2 injuries (p = 0.0053) if revision of the implant was undertaken (p = 0.0033) or revision and open reduction and internal fixation (p = 0.0039) were performed. Fractures classified as Vancouver type B1 had a significantly higher risk of failure (p = 0.0001). The strongest negative factor was the use of a single plate for fixation (p = 0.001). The most common reasons for failure in this group were loosening of the femoral prosthesis, nonunion and re-fracture. It is probable that many fractures classified as Vancouver type B1 (n = 304), were in reality type B2 fractures with a loose stem which were not recognised. Plate fixation was inadequate in these cases. The difficulty in separating type B1 from type B2 fractures suggests that the prosthesis should be considered as loose until proven otherwise.

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