Using a calliper to restore the centre of the femoral head during total hip replacement

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2012 Nov;94(11):1468-74. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.94B11.29144.


Restoration of leg length and offset is an important goal in total hip replacement. This paper reports a calliper-based technique to help achieve these goals by restoring the location of the centre of the femoral head. This was validated first by using a co-ordinate measuring machine to see how closely the calliper technique could record and restore the centre of the femoral head when simulating hip replacement on Sawbone femur, and secondly by using CT in patients undergoing hip replacement. Results from the co-ordinate measuring machine showed that the centre of the femoral head was predicted by the calliper to within 4.3 mm for offset (mean 1.6 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.4 to 2.8)) and 2.4 mm for vertical height (mean -0.6 (95% CI -1.4 to 0.2)). The CT scans showed that offset and vertical height were restored to within 8 mm (mean -1 (95% CI -2.1 to 0.6)) and -14 mm (mean 4 (95% CI 1.8 to 4.3)), respectively. Accurate assessment and restoration of the centre of the femoral head is feasible with a calliper. It is quick, inexpensive, simple to use and can be applied to any design of femoral component.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Femur Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Head / surgery*
  • Hip Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Hip Prosthesis
  • Humans
  • Leg Length Inequality / diagnostic imaging
  • Leg Length Inequality / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed