Early failure of modern cemented stems

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In the late 1970s, improved cement technique was introduced in an attempt to address the problem of early cemented stem loosening. Subsequently, numerous centers reported stem survival rates of >95% beyond 10 years. Long-term cemented stem fixation was believed widely to be consistently obtainable in most patients. Despite the widespread clinical success of these early cemented stems, numerous changes were introduced in stem design and cement technique. In more recent years, a surprising number of series of early failures of cemented stems have been reported. Some designs consistently have had a high early failure rate. Others have failed infrequently, but the failures have occurred early and with extensive osteolysis. Numerous causes have been proposed, including poor cement technique, undersized broaches, increased stem offset, decreased stem length, rough surface finish, and circular stem cross-section. Failures often are multifactorial and defy a simple explanation based on a single parameter. Results of cemented stems are more variable than previously appreciated. There are nuances of cemented stem design, cement technique, and patient selection that can lead to early failure and that are not understood completely at present. Given the availability of many cemented designs with proven records of clinical success, new design features should be introduced prudently with extensive premarket testing, limited clinical release, and careful postmarket surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1050
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cement
  • Failure
  • Lysis
  • Revision
  • Total hip


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