As the volume of total hip arthroplasty (THA) cases continues to rise, so too will the need for revision surgery. Revision THA can be complicated by insufficient bone stock on either the femoral or acetabular side, and researchers are gaining further insight into bone loss potentially related to implant design, such as loss that may occur through stress-shielding from press-fit implants.
In a randomized controlled trial recently reported in JBJS, Brodt et al. evaluated reduction in bone mineral density (BMD), primarily periacetabular BMD, as measured in 2 groups: patients who received a press-fit isoelastic monoblock cup (24 patients analyzed) and those who received a modular titanium press-fit cup (23 patients analyzed). At question was whether an isoelastic monoblock cup, with an elastic modulus similar to that of bone, would lead to less stress-shielding and thus less bone loss compared with a conventional modular titanium cup.
Periprosthetic BMD was assessed at 1 week postoperatively (baseline) and at 4 years postoperatively using dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The authors evaluated 4 regions of interest (ROIs) around the acetabular component and 7 ROIs around the femoral component based on regions previously described in the literature for assessing periprosthetic bone loss.
Baseline patient characteristics, operative time, and improvement in clinical outcome scores did not differ between the groups. A decrease in overall periacetabular BMD was found in both groups, but the difference between the groups was not significant.
However, the researchers found a significant difference between the groups in BMD changes in certain periprosthetic regions. On the acetabular side, the group with the modular titanium cup had a 15.9% decrease in BMD in zone 2 (the superior pole of the acetabulum) compared with a decrease of 4.9% in the group with the isoelastic monoblock cup. And on the femoral side, the group with the modular titanium cup had a 15.4% decrease in BMD in zone 1 (along the greater trochanter) compared with a loss of 7% in the group with the isoelastic monoblock cup. None of the other regions differed significantly between the groups.
Despite the relatively short follow-up and small (but adequately powered) numbers, these results are worthy of our consideration. I agree with the authors that longer follow-up is needed before conclusions can be drawn. As implant design can impact component longevity, it is critical that we evaluate differences to better understand the long-term implications.
Matthew R. Schmitz, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media