Dislocation following total hip replacement

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BACKGROUND: Hip replacement ranks among the more successful operations on the musculoskeletal system, but it can have serious complications. A common one is dislocation of the total hip endoprosthesis, an event that arises in about 2% of patients within 1 year of the operation. Physicians should be aware of how this problem can be prevented and, if necessary, treated, so that the degree of trauma due to hip dislocation after hip replacement surgery can be kept to a minimum.

METHODS: The authors searched Medline selectively for pertinent publications and analyzed the annual reports of international endoprosthesis registries.

RESULTS: The rate of dislocation of primary hip replacements ranges from 0.2% to 10% per year, while that of artificial hip joints that have already been surgically revised can be as high as 28%, depending on the patient population, the follow-up interval, and the type of prosthesis. Patient-specific risk factors for displacement of a hip endoprosthesis include advanced age, accompanying neurologic disease, and impaired compliance. Patients should scrupulously avoid hip movements such as bending far forward from a standing position, or internal rotation of the flexed hip. Operation-specific risk factors include suboptimal implant position, insufficient soft-tissue tension, and inadequate experience of the surgeon. Conservative treatment is justified the first time dislocation occurs without any identifiable cause. If a mechanical cause of instability is found, then operative revision should be performed as recommended in a standardized treatment algorithm, because, otherwise, dislocation is likely to recur.

CONCLUSION: The dislocation of a total hip endoprosthesis is an emotionally traumatizing event that should be prevented if possible. Preoperative risk assessment should be performed and the operation should be performed with optimal technique, including the best possible physical configuration of implant components, soft-tissue balance, and an adequately experienced orthopedic surgeon.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDeutsches Ärzteblatt international
Issue number51-52
Pages (from-to)884-90
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 22.12.2014

ID: 582817

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