Cerclage Cable Tensioning of Intraoperative Hip Arthroplasty Proximal Femoral Fractures: A Cadaveric Model


Cerclage fixation following intraoperative fracture of the proximal femur during total hip arthroplasty (THA) carries a risk of compromising the femoral blood supply. Thus, we sought to determine the minimum cerclage cable tension required to restore the stability of a cementless femoral stem. Cementless femoral prostheses were implanted in seven proximal femoral cadaver specimens, and a periprosthetic fracture was simulated in the medial cortex. A single cerclage cable was placed just above the lesser trochanter and tensioned and tested at increasing intervals. The implant’s torsional stability was determined in the intact bone, prior to fixation, and at each level of cable tension. We found that a single cerclage cable placed above the lesser trochanter can significantly improve, but not fully restore, torsional stability following intraoperative periprosthetic femur fracture during THA. The optimal position for a single cerclage cable appears to be above the lesser trochanter. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 29(4):209–211, 2020)

Key words: total hip arthroplasty, periprosthetic fracture, cerclage, fracture fixation, total hip arthroplasty (THA) complications

Joshua D. Namm, MD; David Kaimrajh, MS; Edward Milne, BS; Ronald W. Lindsey, MD; and Loren Latta, PhD, PE