Randomized Trial of Static and Articulating Spacers for Treatment of the Infected Total Hip Arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2021 Jun;36(6):2171-2177. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2021.01.031. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


Background: The purpose of this randomized clinical trial is to compare perioperative and postoperative variables between static and articulating spacers for the treatment of chronic periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) complicating total hip arthroplasty (THA).

Methods: Fifty-two patients undergoing resection arthroplasty as part of a 2-stage exchange for PJI at 3 centers were randomized to either a static (n = 23) or articulating spacer (n = 29). The primary endpoint was operative time of the second-stage reimplantation and power analysis determined that 22 patients per cohort were necessary to detect a 20-minute difference. Seven patients were lost to follow-up, 4 were never reimplanted, and one died before discharge after reimplantation. Forty patients were followed for a mean 3.2 years (range 2.0-7.1).

Results: There were no differences in operative time at second-stage reimplantation (143 minutes static vs 145 minutes articulating, P = .499). Length of hospital stay was longer in the static cohort after stage 1 (8.6 vs 5.4 days, P = .006) and stage 2 (6.3 vs 3.6 days, P < .001). Although it did not reach statistical significance with the numbers available for study, nearly twice as many patients in the static cohort were discharged to an extended care facility after stage 1 (65% vs 30%, P = .056).

Conclusion: This randomized trial demonstrated that the outcomes of static and articulating spacers are similar in the treatment of THA PJI undergoing 2-stage exchange arthroplasty. The significantly longer length of hospital stay associated with the use of static spacers may have important economic implications for the health care system.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01373099.

Keywords: articulating; operative time; periprosthetic joint infection; spacer; static; total hip arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / drug therapy
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01373099