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Orthopedics. 2013 Jan;36(1):e101-4. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20121217-26.

Ceramic liner fatigue fracture: 3-D CT findings in a late recurrent THA dislocation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Polo Chirurgico Confortini, Verona, Italy.


Dislocation is one of the most common complications of total hip arthroplasty (THA). To the authors' knowledge, late recurrent dislocation of a THA with a ceramic-on-ceramic coupling secondary to fatigue fracture of the ceramic liner has never been described. A 76-year-old woman with right hip osteoarthritis underwent cementless modular THA with a ceramic-on-ceramic coupling. Approximately 10 years postoperatively, she experienced right hip pain with no trauma, which resolved in 14 days. Family members reported that the patient had shown a progressive cognitive and muscular decline in the previous months. Six months later, the patient was admitted for THA dislocation, which was immediately reduced. Computed tomography revealed that the right acetabular component had a retroversion of 4° and an inclination angle of 45°. An orthopedic brace was applied, but dislocation recurred 2 days after discharge. A 3-dimensional CT reconstruction showed a fracture of the ceramic liner in the posterolateral region. The patient underwent revision surgery, and the ceramic liner breakage was confirmed. After removal of the acetabular components, a cemented polyethylene cup was implanted. The stability of the stem was verified. The existing modular neck was replaced with a chromium-cobalt neck, and a new ceramic head was applied. At 7-month follow-up, the patient had good functional recovery with no hip instability. Fatigue failure of a ceramic liner should be considered as responsible for late dislocation after ceramic-on-ceramic THA. As part of the diagnostic strategy, 3-dimensional CT reconstruction should be used to evaluate ceramic liner breakage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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