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Acta Ortopédica Brasileira

Print version ISSN 1413-7852On-line version ISSN 1809-4406

Acta ortop. bras. vol.24 no.5 São Paulo Sept./Oct. 2016

https://doi.org/10.1590/1413-785220162405158405 

ORIGINAL ARTICLES

ACETABULAR COMPONENT ORIENTATION IN TOTAL HIP ARTHROPLASTY: THE ROLE OF ACETABULAR TRANSVERSE LIGAMENT

MOHAMMED EL IDRISSI1 

ABDELHALIM ELIBRAHIMI1 

MOHAMMED SHIMI1 

ABDELMAJID ELMRINI1 

1. Hassan II University Hospital, Orthopedics Department, Fez, Morocco.


ABSTRACT

Objective:

The aim of our study is to present the benefit of using the transvers acetabular ligament for intraoperative determination of the anteversion of acetabular component.

Methods:

Twenty-one total hip arthroplasties were performed. The transverse acetabular ligament was identified and used as a guide to position the acetabular component.

Results:

The mean anteversion angle was 16.9. None of the patients studied sustained a postoperative dislocation during this short follow-up period.

Conclusion:

We conclude from this preliminary study that the transverse acetabular ligament can aid positioning of the acetabular component of a THR. It defines the version of the acetabular component without the need for external instrumentation, and is independent of the position of the patient. Level of Evidence IV; Prospective Study.

Keywords: Hip; Arthroplasty; Hip dislocation

INTRODUCTION

Acetabular cup positioning has a significant effect on the out- come of total hip arthroplasty (THA). It affects dislocation rate, component impingement, edge loading, accelerated bearing surface wear and osteolysis and/or loosening.1 In the course of surgery, the most important step is cup orientation. The position on the operating table, dislocation of the native hip and the use of retractors alter the pelvis and, thus, acetabular version.2 Several methods have been described in the literature and several devices are available from THA prosthesis manufacturers to help correct cup placement. Many authors have described the transverse acetabular ligament (TAL) as a patient-specific reference point in determining the correct acetabular anteversion. The aim of our study is to resent the benefit of using the transvers acetabular ligament for intraoperative determination of the anteversion of acetabular component.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted between January 2013 and January 2015. It included 21 total hip arthroplasties performed by two senior surgeons. Ten patients were operated for hip osteoarthritis, eight for femoral neck fracture, and three for coxitis. Each patient had a postoperative anteroposterior (AP) radiograph of the pelvis, which was used to measure the abduction angle of the acetabular cup from lines drawn through the face of the cup and the inter-teardrop line. A standardized crosstable true lateral view of the hip was taken with the patient supine on the radiographic table with the contralateral lower extremity flexed as much as possible to eliminate lumbar lordosis and place the pelvis in a standard position. The anteversion angle of the acetabular component was measured according to the technique of Woo.3

Surgical technique

Minopen posterior approach was used. (Figure 1) The piriformis tendon was preserved in all patients. As described by Archbold, retractors were used to obtain full exposure of the acetabulum. Inferiorly, the retractor was placed in a way that the transverse acetabular ligament remained superficial to it. The appearance of this ligament was graded using Archbold's classification.4 (Table 1) Once defined, (Figure 2) the transverse acetabular ligament was used as a guide to acetabular reaming. Then, the ligament embraced the final acetabular reamer and thereby, the acetabular component. (Figure 3)

Figure1. Posterior miniopen surgical approach. 

Table 1 Intraoperative classification of the acetabular transverse ligament (ATL) according to Archbold4

Grade of ATL Appearance of ATL visualized during THA
1 Normal quality ATL visible at the acetabulum exposure
2 ATL covered by soft tissue which has to be removed to expose the ligament
3 ATL covered by osteophytes which have to be removed to expose the ligament
4 Ligament not identified, even after proper removal of osteophytes or soft tissue

Figure 2 The TAL was carefully identified. 

Figure 3 The TAL embraces the acetabular component. 

The Hospital Ethics Committee approved the study, and all patients signed a Free and Informed Consent form before the surgery.

RESULTS

The transverse acetabular ligament was identified and exposed in all cases. Radiological results are shown in Table 2. The mean anteversion angle was 16.9°. None of the patients studied showed a postoperative dislocation during the short follow-up period.

Table 2 Radiological results. 

Patient Diagnosis Anteversion angle (degrees) Abduction angle (degrees)
P1 hip osteoarthritis 11 38
P2 hip osteoarthritis 15 30
P3 hip osteoarthritis 9 35
P4 hip osteoarthritis 8 41
P5 hip osteoarthritis 28 40
P6 hip osteoarthritis 18 43
P7 hip osteoarthritis 13 48
P8 hip osteoarthritis 15 37
P9 hip osteoarthritis 27 35
P10 hip osteoarthritis 16 45
P11 Fracture of the femoral neck 21 33
P12 Fracture of the femoral neck 15 32
P13 Fracture of the femoral neck 25 39
P14 Fracture of the femoral neck 24 32
P15 Fracture of the femoral neck 18 42
P16 Fracture of the femoral neck 20 44
P17 Fracture of the femoral neck 21 43
P18 Fracture of the femoral neck 16 48
P19 Coxitis 16 46
P20 Coxitis 18 45
P21 Coxitis 16 41
Mean (SD) 16.9 (±5) 39.85 (±5)

DISCUSSION

Positioning of the acetabular component in THA has been shown to affect the range of motion of the hip, wear of the polyethylene, and the rate of pelvic osteolysis, being of paramount importance in minimizing the risk of dislocation.5-8 Unlike inclination, which according to most authors should be approximately 45°6,9-11 there is no consensus about how much anteversion is needed for the acetabular cup. Murray12 has defined three types of cup anteversion: anatomical, operative and radiographic. Anteversion values may differ depending on the plane of reference, and Murray has developed conversion nomograms for these three definitions. Lewinnek et al.7 described a 'safe zone' for acetabular anteversion as being 15 ± 10°, using a posterolateral approach. In the course of surgery, the most important step is cup orientation. The position on the operating table, the dislocation of the native hip and the use of retractors may alter the pelvis and, thus, the acetabular version.12 Several methods have been described in the literature and several devices are available from THA prosthesis manufacturers to help cup correct placement.13-15 Many studies have recommended the use of the triangular acetabular ligament (TAL) for acetabular component positioning.4,16-19 Although navigation technology has been shown to significantly improve precision during insertion of the acetabular component, the additional cost and increased duration of surgery has prevented the widespread uptake of these techniques.20,21 Furthermore, considering the variation in the patients' anatomy and their functional pelvic tilt, one might question the necessity of achieving standard acetabular implant orientation in every patient. In order to achieve a reliable and patient-specific alignment, there is a need for technical aids and tools base on reproducible anatomical landmarks.22

Archbold et al.4 have introduced the use of the TAL as a patient-specific reference point in determining the correct acetabular anteversion. With a large sample size, the TAL was easily identified in most cases and a very low rate of dislocation was observed. These authors present an easily reproducible and valid technique which is of widespread use today.

In order to assess the influence of acetabular component alignment relative to TAL and the posterior labrum as soft-tissue landmarks, Kalteis et al.23,24 measured the orientation of the native acetabular plane as defined by the transverse acetabular ligament and the posterior labrum intra-operatively, using computer-assisted navigation. They suggest that this alignment can reduce malpositioning of the acetabular component in total hip replacement according to the traditional safe zones. However, there is no improvement in range of movement and no decrease in impingement in an anatomical orientation when the acetabular component is aligned to the TAL and the posterior labrum, as compared to a standard orientation at 45° of abduction and 15° of anteversion. Viste et al.25 suggested that that cup orientation should be specific for each patient and not a universal standard, as suggested by Lewinnek et al.7 Indeed, anteversion is not a static parameter, but a specific dynamic value for each individual. According to Archbold et al.,4 this technique may not be applicable where a significant acetabular structural abnormality is present, as in severe dysplasia or following a pelvic fracture.

In our study, we had no case of hip dislocation. The TAL was easily identified in all patients. However, a larger and comparative study is needed to confirm this results.

CONCLUSION

We conclude from this preliminary study that the transverse acetabular ligament can assist to position the acetabular component in THR. It defines the degree of version of the acetabular component without the need for external instrumentation, and it is independent of the patient's position.

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Work developed at Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hassan II University Hospital, Fez, Morocco.

Received: January 10, 2016; Accepted: March 24, 2016

Correspondence: Mohammed El Idrissi. Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Hassan II University Hospital, Route Sidi Hrazem, BP:1835 Atlas, Fez, Morocco. elidrimed@gmail.com

All the authors declare that there is no potential conflict of interest referring to this article.

AUTHORS' CONTRIBUTIONS:

Each author contributed individually and significantly to the development of the study. MEI (0000-0003-0104-389X)* was the main contributor in writing the manuscript. AE conducted the literature search; MS* and AE* reviewed the manuscript and approved the final version. All authors contributed to the intellectual concept of the study. *ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID).

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