BACKGROUND: Controversy exists regarding the use of cement for hemiarthroplasty to treat a displaced subcapital femoral neck fracture in elderly patients. The primary hypothesis of this study was that use of cement would provide better visual analog pain scores following this procedure in an elderly patient population.
METHODS: Elderly patients (at least seventy years of age) without severe cardiopulmonary compromise who presented to one institution with a displaced subcapital femoral neck fracture were offered inclusion in the study. One hundred and sixty patients (mean age, eighty-five years) with an acute displaced femoral neck fracture were randomly allocated to hemiarthroplasty with either a cemented Exeter or an uncemented Zweymüller Alloclassic component. Clinical and radiographic follow-up was performed for two years and the outcomes were recorded by a blinded assessor. The main clinical outcome measures were pain, mortality, mobility, complications, reoperations, and quality of life measured with use of validated instruments.
RESULTS: The mean visual analog pain score at rest did not differ significantly between the groups. The total number of complications was greater in the uncemented group (sixty-three compared with twenty-eight in the cemented group). Subsidence was significantly more common in the uncemented group (eighteen compared with one in the cemented group). Intraoperative or postoperative fracture was also significantly more common in the uncemented group (eighteen compared with one in the cemented group). The mortality rate did not differ significantly between the groups at any time point (thirty-five deaths in the uncemented group compared with thirty-two in the cemented group at two years). The Oxford hip score was significantly poorer in the uncemented group at six weeks (38.8 compared with 35.7 in the cemented group), and it was also poorer or similar at later follow-up time points although the differences were not significant. There was also a trend toward poorer mobility and greater dependence on walking aids in the cemented group. The postoperative Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment and Mini-Mental State Examination scores did not differ significantly between the groups.
CONCLUSIONS: In elderly patients (seventy years or older) without severe cardiopulmonary compromise who were treated with hemiarthroplasty for a displaced femoral neck fracture, use of a cemented Exeter implant and use of an uncemented Alloclassic implant provided a comparable outcome with regard to pain. However, implant-related complication rates were significantly lower in the group treated with a cemented implant. Trends toward better function and better mobility in the cemented group were observed. These trends reached significance in particular functional scores at some postoperative time points.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.