Soft-tissue balance in short and straight stem total hip arthroplasty.

Research paper by Henning H Windhagen, Andra A Chincisan, Hon Fai HF Choi, Fritz F Thorey

Indexed on: 01 Apr '15Published on: 01 Apr '15Published in: Orthopedics


The growing numbers of short stem hip implants have redefined total hip arthroplasty with new stem geometries and possible functional differences. Several systematic reviews have reported good clinical results with this new class of stems, although kinematic alterations are still unclear in many aspects. The good clinical results obtained at the authors' institution led to the current study. The authors hypothesized that the geometric alignment of the prosthetic components may be closer to the anatomy of the healthy hip joint, thus leading to better function and clinical satisfaction. An examination via finite element analysis was chosen to model the hip joint and virtually implant a short and a standard straight stem. Findings indicated that anchoring of the short stem allowed favorable positioning in the proximal femur, with the femoral head already in the center of the cup. This positioning was not possible for the straight stem, which required further reduction of the femur by a significant translation into the cup, leading to abnormal soft-tissue balancing. The results from the simulation showed an absolute average deviation of ligamentous fiber strains of 6% for the short stem in 30° of flexion and extension versus 29% and 36% for the standard straight stem in 30° of flexion and extension, respectively. A femoral neck guided orientation of the short stem implant seems to allow a more anatomical reconstruction and thus a more balanced hip in terms of the modeled soft tissues. In contrast, the straight stem alters the head position and induces nonphysiological capsular strains.