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Is there a need for routine follow-up after primary total hip arthroplasty?

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Publication Date
  • 110314 Orthopaedics
  • Asymptomatic Revision
  • Routine Follow-Up
  • Total Hip Arthroplasty
  • Medicine


Background: The objective of routine outpatient assessment of well functioning patients after primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) is to detect asymptomatic failure of prostheses to guide recommendations for early intervention. We have observed that the revision of THAs in asymptomatic patients is highly uncommon. We therefore question the need for routine follow-up of patients after THA. Methods: A prospective analysis of an orthopaedic database identified 158 patients who received 177 revision THAs over a 4 year period. A retrospective chart review was conducted. Patient demographics, primary and revision surgery parameters and follow-up information was recorded and cross referenced with AOA NJRR data. Results: 110 THAs in 104 patients (average age 70.4 (SD 9.8 years). There were 70 (63.6%) total, 13 (11.8%) femoral and 27 (24.5%) acetabular revisions. The indications for revision were aseptic loosening (70%), dislocation (8.2%), peri-prosthetic fracture (7.3%), osteolysis (6.4%) and infection (4.5%). Only 4 (3.6%) were asymptomatic revisions. A mean of 5.3 (SD 5.2 and 1.9 (SD 5.3 follow-up appointments were required before revision in patients with and without symptoms, respectively. The average time from the primary to revision surgery was 11.8 (SD 7.23) years. Conclusions: We conclude that patients with prostheses with excellent long term clinical results as validated by Joint Registries, routine follow-up of asymptomatic THA should be questioned and requires further investigation. Based on the work of this study, the current practice of routine follow-up of asymptomatic THA may be excessively costly and unnecessary and a less resource-intensive review method may be more appropriate.

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