xray hip dislocation

Total Hip Replacement: How to Minimize the Risk of Dislocation

We have discussed the outcomes of Total Hip Replacement (THR) in the past. Multiple studies have documented greater than 90% patient satisfaction with THR. Currently, there are approximately 400,000 THRs performed in the U.S. each year. THR has been called the operation of the century recognizing its contribution to pain relief, improved function, and quality of life. While we have come to expect very good results with THR, complications can occur. Previously, we discussed the risk of infection and steps to prevent it; today, I will discuss the risk of dislocation after THR and how we lower that risk. The most common cause of early revision after THR is dislocation.

Most early dislocations occur within three weeks after surgery. There are patient-related factors that increase the risk of dislocation; these include patients with Parkinson's disease, patients with dementia or other cognitive issues, a history of alcoholism, and a lack of preoperative patient education. There are technique related issues regarding component positioning and soft tissue repair after THR. There has been significant interest over the last five years in the relationship between spinal mobility and the risk of instability after THRs. Patients with prior spinal fusions, history of significant degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine, and or loss of spinal/pelvic mobility are at increased risk of dislocation after THR. Studies have documented a dislocation rate of 1.5% in a control group (no spine issues) vs. a dislocation rate of 4.3 to 7.5% in patients with a spinal fusion. The reason this occurs is that the functional position of the hip socket is determined by the coordinated motion of the spine, the pelvis, and the hip joint. Withstanding the pelvis tips forward and increases the coverage of the femoral head. While sitting, the pelvis tips backward, which uncovers the femoral head and allows the hip to flex without impinging the femoral neck against the hip socket. It is the coordinated motion between the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joint that makes maximal motion possible.

In addition to spinal factors, there are surgeon factors that will decrease the risk of dislocation. More experienced surgeons who perform more than 50 THR per year have a lower risk of dislocation vs. surgeons who perform less than 10 THRs per year. The use of an Anterior Approach for hip replacement is associated with a lower risk of dislocation after THR. The use of larger heads 32mm or larger is associated with a lower risk of dislocation. So the risk of dislocation after a THR is low, and many factors can influence the risk. We do everything we can to minimize this risk. Our dislocation rate with anterior approach THR at POA is 0.4%, due to our high volume, use of Anterior Approach THR, and robust patient optimization programs.