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01.12.2016 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Patient Safety in Surgery 1/2016

Safety of total hip arthroplasty for femoral neck fractures using the direct anterior approach: a retrospective observational study in 86 elderly patients

Patient Safety in Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2016
Grégoire Thürig, Jürgen Wilfried Schmitt, Ksenija Slankamenac, Clément M. L. Werner
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of their immediate family, has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.

Authors’ contributions

GT result interpretation, compilation of manuscript. JWS result interpretation, compilation of manuscript. SM Statistical analysis. CMLW Study conception, interpretation of results, proofreading. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The femoral neck fracture is one of the most common fractures in the elderly. A variety of methods and approaches are used to treat it. Total hip arthroplasty is a preferred approach in independent, mobile, elderly patients, given its more favorable long-term outcome.
Our hypothesis is that the direct anterior approach in geriatric trauma patients has a lower dislocation-rate with the advantage of early recovery due to a muscle sparing approach and therefore early possible full weight-bearing.


Patients were retrospectively sought who suffered a femoral neck fracture from 2008 to 2013. All patients were treated through a direct anterior approach and using the same brand of implants. Medical history, standardized physical exam, conventional pelvic plain and axial hip x-rays, Harris Hip Score, Merle D'Aubigné and Postel and SF-36 were assessed.


Eighty-six patients were included in the study with a mean age of seventy-five years. The mortality rate was 16.7 %. Complications were encountered in nineteen patients (22.0 %) who needed operative revision and one postoperative complication (1.2 %) which could be handled conservatively. There were five intraoperative complications (5.8 %), two dislocations (2.3 %), one aseptic loosening in a non-cemented stem (1.2 %), six periprosthetic fractures in non-cemented stems (6.9 %), one displacement of a non-cemented cup (1.2 %), two early infections (2.3 %) and three hematomas (3.5 %) recorded.


Although the direct anterior approach is associated with a rather long learning curve we have found it to preserve the soft-tissues with no injury to abductors. It therefore shows an early advantage in elderly patients in terms of early recovery and therefore early possible full weight-bearing. Fracture treatment with dual mobility cups might lead to lower dislocation rates, but are associated with higher costs. Due to higher complication rates in non-cemented versus cemented shafts, we have changed our practice towards favoring cemented femoral stems in patients with suspected or manifest osteoporosis.
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