July 31st, 2018 , The Journal of Arthroplasty

Variability of Pelvic Orientation in the Lateral Decubitus Position: Are External Alignment Guides Trustworthy? (Abstract)

Authors: Otero JE, Fehring KA, Martin JR, Odum SM, Fehring TK


The position of the acetabular component in total hip arthroplasty (THA) is critical for success. However, this remains the most variable aspect of the surgery. We hypothesized that there is wide variation in pelvic orientation in the lateral decubitus position. We sought to determine the variability in pelvic positioning and the frequency of pelvic malposition during THA in lateral decubitus with regard to pelvic tilt and pelvic rotation.


We analyzed preoperative standing and intraoperative anteroposterior pelvis X-rays in 248 consecutive THAs performed in lateraldecubitus by one surgeon. Pelvic tilt and rotation were determined for preoperative and intraoperative X-rays. Proper intraoperative positioning was defined as less than 10° change in tilt or rotation between preoperative and intraoperative X-rays.


With regard to pelvic tilt, the intraoperative position was proper in 188 (76%) cases. There was a pelvic tilt discrepancy of 10°-20° in 43 (17.5%) cases and greater than 20° in 16 (6.5%) patients. With regard to pelvic rotation, the intraoperative position was proper in 202 (81%) cases. There was a pelvic rotation discrepancy of 10°-20° in 38 (15.4%) cases and greater than 20° in 7 (2.8%) cases. In 248 cases, only 154 (62.1%) had intraoperative positioning within 10° of preoperative tilt and axial rotation. Pelvic malposition occurred in 38% of cases overall.


There is wide variation in pelvic orientation in lateral decubitus and frequent discrepancy in pelvic tilt and rotation between preoperative and intraoperative anteroposterior X-rays. Anatomic landmarks should be used to guide acetabular component positioning.


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