Difference in tapered wedge stem alignment between supine and lateral position in cementless total hip arthroplasty via modified Watson-Jones anterolateral approach

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2021 May 22. doi: 10.1007/s00590-021-03001-4. Online ahead of print.


Background: Whether different body positions during surgery affect postoperative stem alignment in total hip arthroplasty (THA) remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to clarify differences in tapered wedge stem alignment between supine and lateral positions in THA under the modified Watson-Jones anterolateral approach.

Methods: We reviewed 242 consecutive, primary cementless THAs performed with ceramic-on-cross-linked polyethylene via the modified Watson-Jones approach in either supine or lateral positions between 2009 and 2015 (supine group: 113 cases; lateral group: 129 cases). No specific reasons to select supine or lateral positions for the surgery were given during the study period. Computed tomography was performed pre- and postoperatively to measure preoperative femoral anteversion and postoperative stem anteversion, respectively. Stem alignment in coronal and sagittal planes was also evaluated.

Results: Mean difference in stem anteversion and femoral anteversion was 8.6 ± 9.4 in the supine position and 13.0 ± 11.4 in the lateral position (p = 0.0013). Although no significant difference was seen between groups for stem alignment in the coronal plane, flexed implantation was more likely in the supine group (46/113, 40.7%) than in the lateral group (20/129, 15.5%). A significant correlation was found between femoral anteversion and stem anteversion in both the supine and lateral groups (r = 0.68, p < 0.0001 and r = 0.52, p < 0.0001, respectively).

Conclusion: Although stem anteversion was more strongly correlated with femoral anteversion in the supine position than in the lateral position, neutral position in the sagittal plane was more likely to be found with the lateral position than with the supine position. Surgeons can achieve ideal stem positioning by considering these results in the modified Watson-Jones approach in both the supine and lateral positions.

Keywords: Lateral position; Stem anteversion; Supine position; Tapered wedge stem; Total hip arthroplasty.