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Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2011 May;97(3):229-40. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2011.01.011. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

Radiographic changes of the femoral neck after total hip resurfacing.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal institute, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Rangueil Teaching Hospital Center, 1, avenue Jean-Poulhès, TSA 50032, 31059 Toulouse cedex 9, France.



Significant femoral neck narrowing following hip resurfacing arthroplasty has been observed. Several factors contributing to the physiopathology of femoral neck narrowing have been suggested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the femoral neck radiographic changes observed after hip resurfacing at a minimum follow-up period of 5 years and to determine their causes.


We conducted a prospective study of 57 hip resurfacing arthroplasties performed in 53 patients (30 men, 23 women) of mean age 49.2 years (32-65) at surgery. These patients were clinically reviewed (inguinal pain during walking, WOMAC and UCLA scores) at 2 years and radiographically examined at 1, 2 and 5 postoperative years. The accuracy of our computer-aided measurement method was 1mm. Measurement of femoral neck to implant ratio was performed to assess the amount of neck thinning at the femoral neck-implant junction (N/H) and midway between the implant and the inter-trochanteric line (N(1/2)H) on an AP radiograph. Neck-thinning greater than 10% was considered as significant. Any other radiographic morphologic change in the femoral neck was investigated. Metallic ion concentration in blood was measured. A uni- and multivariate analysis was performed to determine the correlation with radiographic changes.


In one third of the patients, femoral neck narrowing was greater than 1mm at 2 and 5 postoperative years. Such result corresponds to a mean decrease in neck to implant ratio (N/H) of 5.9% (range, 2.3 to 9.4) at 2 years and 8.3% (range, 2.5 to 23.8) at 5 years. At 5 postoperative years, an overall neck thinning greater than 10% was reported in 3 patients (with a 10- to 17-% increase in femoral neck narrowing between the 2nd and the 5th postoperative year). In one case, neck thinning was associated with fracture of the femoral stem managed with revision surgery during which femoral neck necrosis was confirmed. Neck thinning was, in these cases, circumferential to the neck-implant junction. There was no significant negative impact on clinical scores and no relationship could be established between neck thinning and factors such as BMI or patient activity. Moreover, neck thinning greater than 10% was reported in two cases after 2 postoperative years through the appearance of a localized femoral neck notching which was absent in the postoperative period, secondary to a femoroacetabular impingement.


Femoral neck narrowing used to be a common phenomenon after HR when polyethylene acetabular bearings were implanted thus inducing osteolysis secondary to PE wear debris. The incidence of such phenomenon has decreased but still occurs after HR when using a metal-on-metal bearing surface. It has an early occurence but stabilizes after 2 postoperative years. Changes in mechanical stress distribution in the neck region after hip resurfacing have been hypothesized to be a cause of neck thinning. Other aetiologies may be suggested. An overall evolutive femoral neck narrowing after 2 postoperative years should raise the suspicion of necrosis leading to a risk of loosening, fracture or implant failure. Therefore, radiographic monitoring should be conducted. The presence of femoral neck notching secondary to femoroacetabular impingement represents a differential diagnosis which conservative treatment is advocated in the absence of any associated symptoms.

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