Biomechanical Evaluation of the Accuracy in Radiographic Assessment of Femoral Component Migration Measurement after Total Hip Arthroplasty
Introduction: Implant subsidence is one criteria utilized to monitor for prosthesis loosening after total hip arthroplasty (THA) with initial implant subsidence assessment often done utilizing plain radiographs. The specific aim of this study was to identify the most reliable references when using plain radiographs to establish an image magnification with the goals being easy to use, inexpensive, reliable, and accurate.
Methods: Two femoral stem implants (stem lengths: 127mm, 207mm) were utilized to simulate hemiarthroplasty of the hip with composite femurs. Different combinations of femoral stem distances from the radiographic film (ODD), source-detector differences (SDD), hip rotation, and hip flexion were elected. Standardized anterior-posterior pelvis for each parameter combination setup were taken. Radiographic measurements (head diameter, stem length, stem seating length) were undertaken five times by three examiners. Radiographic image magnification factors were generated from two references (head diameter and stem length). Radiograph measurement reproducibility and stem seating length errors using these magnification factors were evaluated.
Results: High level of repeated measurements reliability was found for head diameter (99 ± 0%) and stem length (90 ± 7%) measurements, whereas seating length measurements were less reliable (76 ± 6%). Stem length error using the femoral head magnification factor yielded 11% accuracy. Stem seating length error using both magnification factors were not reliable (< 7% accuracy). All parameters, except SDD, showed significant effect on calibrated measurement error.
Conclusions: Current methods of assessing implant subsidence after THA using plain radiographs are inaccurate or reliable. Clinicians should recognize these limitations and be cautious when diagnosing implant stability using plain radiographs alone.
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