Total Hip Arthroplasty After Prior Acetabular Fracture: Infection Is a Real Concern

J Arthroplasty. 2020 Sep;35(9):2619-2623. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.04.085. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


Background: Acetabular fractures often require surgical intervention for fracture fixation and can result in premature osteoarthritis of the hip joint. This study hypothesized that total hip arthroplasty (THA) in patients with a prior acetabular fracture who had undergone open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is associated with a higher rate of subsequent periprosthetic joint infection (PJI).

Methods: About 72 patients with a history of acetabular fracture that required ORIF, undergoing conversion THA between 2000 and 2017 at our institution, were matched based on age, gender, body mass index, Charlson comorbidity index, and date of surgery in a 1:3 ratio with 215 patients receiving primary THA. The mean follow-up for the conversion THA cohort was 2.9 years (range, 1-12.15) and 3.06 years (range, 1-12.96) for the primary THA.

Results: Patients with a previous acetabular fracture, compared with the primary THA patients, had longer operative times, greater operative blood loss, and an increased need for allogeneic blood transfusion (26.4% vs 4.7%). Most notably, PJI rate was significantly higher in acetabular fracture group at 6.9% compared with 0.5% in the control group. Complications, such as aseptic revision, venous thromboembolism, and mortality, were similar between both groups.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that conversion THA in patients with prior ORIF of acetabular fractures is associated with higher complication rate, in particular PJI, and less optimal outcome compared with patients undergoing primary THA. The latter findings compel us to seek and implement specific strategies that aim to reduce the risk of subsequent PJI in these patients.

Keywords: acetabular fracture; hip; open reduction and internal fixation; periprosthetic joint infection; total hip arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Open Fracture Reduction
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome