Background and purpose: One concern regarding resurfacing arthroplasty is the viability of the diminished femoral head and the postoperative risk of collapse, or a femoral neck fracture. (18)F-fluoride positron emission tomography (F-PET) enables us to assess bone viability despite there being a covering metal component. By F-PET studies, we recently showed the absence of metabolism in the remaining part of femoral heads, 1-4 years after surgery in 11 of 46 consecutive cases. We now present the further development of bone metabolism in these 11 cases.
Patients and methods: 10 patients (11 chips) with previously shown loss of femoral head metabolism were evaluated by radiography and repeated F-PET scans, 3-6.5 years after surgery. The size of the area with low (18)F-fluoride PET uptake in the femoral head was compared to that in earlier PET images.
Results: No patients had any clinical symptoms; nor was any necrotic bone area visible in plain radiographs. On F-PET scans, 2 patients showed a diminished area with low uptake, 4 were unchanged, and 5 had enlarged areas.
Interpretation: Bone metabolism surrounding a volume of bone with no metabolic activity changes dynamically even 5 years after surgery. The presence of bone with minor uptake of F-tracer, indicating low or no bone metabolism, with further progression in 5 of 11 cases leads us to conclude that resurfacing THA should be used restrictively.