Background: Dislocation after revision THA is a common complication. Large heads have the potential to decrease dislocation rate, but it is unclear whether they do so in revision THA.
Questions/purposes: We therefore determined whether a large femoral head (36 and 40 mm) resulted in a decreased dislocation rate compared to a standard head (32 mm).
Methods: We randomized 184 patients undergoing revision THA to receive either a 32-mm head (92 patients) or 36- and 40-mm head (92 patients) and stratified patients by surgeon. The two groups had similar baseline demographics. The primary end point was dislocation. Quality-of-life (QOL) measures were WOMAC and SF-36. The mean followup for dislocation was 5 years (range, 2-7 years); the mean followup for QOL was 2.2 years (range, 1.6-4 years).
Results: In the 36- and 40-mm head group, the dislocation rate was 1.1% (one of 92) versus 8.7% (eight of 92) for the 32-mm head. There was no difference in QOL outcomes between the two groups.
Conclusions: Our observations confirm a large femoral head (36 or 40 mm) reduces dislocation rates in patients undergoing revision THA at short-term followup. We now routinely use large heads with a highly crosslinked polyethylene acetabular liner in all revision THAs.
Level of evidence: Level I, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.