Immediate changes of bone density caused by the implantation of a femoral stem--a DEXA study.

Leichtle UG, Leasure J, Martini F, Leichtle CI.

Dec 1, 2011

Hip Int. 2011 Nov-Dec;21(6):706-12. doi: 10.5301/HIP.2011.8841.


Considerable immediate periprosthetic bone density changes after implantation of femoral stems have been observed comparing DEXA measurements taken pre- and post-operatively. This is important in relation to the interpretation of DEXA studies. We analysed these density changes under standardised experimental conditions. Five human femora were implanted with a custom made femoral stem and ten femora with a standard cementless prosthesis. Densitometry was performed at various stages of implantation. Following rasping only slight density changes were noted (-2.7% to +0.7%). Comparing post-implantation and pre-operative measurements, all custom made stems with a proximal press-fit demonstrated clear increases in proximal periprosthetic bone density of +11% and +14%. In contrast, the standard prosthesis with a distal press-fit showed a loss of -5% and -2% in the proximal zones. Measurements following removal of the implants demonstrated hardly any density changes (0% to -4%) compared to the pre-operative measurements. We concluded that compacting of trabecular bone or bone loss due to rasping are not the main causes of density changes. Substantial measuring errors exist. For examination of periprosthetic bone density changes, pre-operative initial measurements should not be used as a baseline for comparison. Studies should commence with an immediate postoperative measurement.