Identifying the procedural gap and improved methods for maintaining accuracy during total hip arthroplasty

Med Hypotheses. 2016 Sep;94:93-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Jul 11.


Osteoarthritis is a ubiquitous condition, affecting 26 million Americans each year, with up to 17% of adults over age 75 suffering from one variation of arthritis. The hip is one of the most commonly affected joints and while there are conservative options for treatment, as symptoms progress, many patients eventually turn to surgery to manage their pain and dysfunction. Early surgical options such as osteotomy or arthroscopy are reserved for younger, more active patients with less severe disease and symptoms. Total hip arthroplasty offers a viable solution for patients with severe degenerative changes; however, post-surgical discrepancies in leg length, offset and component malposition are common and cause significant complications. Such discrepancies are associated with consequences such as low back pain, neurological deficits, instability and overall patient dissatisfaction. Current methods for managing leg length and offset during hip arthroplasty are either inaccurate and susceptible to error or are cumbersome, expensive and lengthen surgical time. There is currently no viable option that provides accurate, real-time data to surgeons regarding leg length, offset and cup position in a cost-effective manner. As such, we hypothesize that a procedural gap exists in hip arthroplasty, a gap into which fall a large majority of arthroplasty patients who are at increased risk of complications following surgery. These complications and associated treatments place significant stress on the healthcare system. The costs associated with addressing leg length and offset discrepancies can be minor, requiring only heel lifts and short-term rehabilitation, but can also be substantial, with revision hip arthroplasty costs of up to $54,000 per procedure. The need for a cost-effective, simple to use and unobtrusive technology to address this procedural gap in hip arthroplasty and improve patient outcomes is of increasing importance. Given the aging of the population, the projected increases in the volume of procedures over the coming decades and the economic pressures associated with downward pricing pressure and bundled payments, the need to address this gap is underscored.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / complications
  • Operative Time
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteotomy
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted