Acetabular fracture associated with cementless acetabular component insertion: A report of 13 cases

Peter F. Sharkey, William J. Hozack, John J. Callaghan, Yong Sik Kim, Daniel J. Berry, Arlen D. Hanssen, David G. LeWallen

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84 Scopus citations


Acetabular fracture during insertion of a cementless acetabular component occurred in 13 patients. The preoperative diagnosis was osteoarthritis in 6 patients, rheumatoid arthritis in 2 patients, avascular necrosis in 3 patients, hip fracture nonunion in 1 patient, and developmental dysplasia of the hip in 1 patient. Several different components were used; however, the acetabulum was underreamed by 1 to 3 mm in all cases. The acetabular fracture was identified in 9 of 13 cases intraoperatively. The fracture was identified on postoperative radiographs for the other 4 cases. Fractures were treated by a variety of means, including the addition of augmentation screws in or around the cup, use of autograft bone at the fracture site, modified postoperative weight-bearing status, and immobilization. In 2 cases, the socket needed to be revised after it progressively migrated and failed. One patient had cup migration, and another had a radiolucent line about the cup but was not symptomatic enough to require revision. In 3 of these 4 cases, the fracture was not identified intraoperatively. Underreaming of the acetabulum and use of an oversized acetabular component has been recommended to improve the initial stability of the acetabular component during total hip arthroplasty. Impaction of an oversized component requires bone to undergo plastic deformation if the cup is to be fully seated. Theoretically, this technique provides improved component stability with enhanced osseous ingrowth into the cup. The 13 cases reported in this study demonstrate that acetabular fracture is a complication that may occur in association with uncemented hip arthroplasty, particularly if oversized components are used. The importance of recognizing acetabular fractures intraoperatively and the need to institute appropriate treatment to ensure a stable acetabular component is emphasized. In patients with osteoporotic bone, line-to-line reaming with use of a cementless acetabular component or insertion of a cemented socket may be considered to avoid this significant complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Acetabular fracture
  • Cementless
  • Total hip arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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