Interposition sleeve as treatment option for interprosthetic fractures of the femur: a biomechanical in vitro assessment
Purpose: The number of patients having hip and knee arthroplasties on the ipsilateral leg is going to rise. In this regard, the prevalence of interprosthetic femoral fractures is going to increase further. The treatment of these fractures is difficult and sometimes it is impossible to perform an osteosynthesis because of worse bone quality. The goal of this study was to investigate the use of an interposition sleeve as an alternative treatment option for interprosthetic fractures with major bone loss. Methods: Six human cadaveric femurs were instrumented using cemented hip- and knee prosthesis. Interprosthetic fractures were induced during a four-point-bending test and then treated using the interposition sleeve. Afterwards the constructs were tested using the four-point-bending test again. Results: Load-to-failure of the construct before fracturing was significantly higher than after treatment with the interposition sleeve (10681 N vs. 5083 N; p = 0.002). The failure mechanism of the femurs with the interposition sleeve was plastic deformation of the hip or knee prosthesis. The interposition sleeve did not fail in any specimen. Conclusion: The interposition sleeve is a valuable treatment option for interprosthetic fractures in situations in which osteosynthesis is impossible or insecure due to major bone defects. However, fracture healing should be preferred whenever possible.