'Pathological' fracture of the femur--a complication of failed total hip arthroplasty.
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Ten patients with a major femur fracture complicating total hip arthroplasty were seen at the Princess Alice Orthopaedic Hospital between June 1986 and May 1988. Four cases were intra-operative fractures sustained at revision surgery and 6 were late postoperative fractures of the femur associated with minimal trauma. Eight patients have a pain-free and functional hip arthroplasty at a mean follow-up of 19.7 months (range 17-32 months). One patient developed deep sepsis and 1 persistent non-union: both are now well mobilised following excision arthroplasty. Predisposing factors are identified and the importance of timeous intervention to avoid this challenging complication is stressed.
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