Objective— To evaluate the prevalence of femoral intramedullary infarction after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and to determine whether any specific femoral morphology predisposes to bone infarction.

Study Design— Retrospective clinical study.

Sample Population— All dogs from our hospital population undergoing THA between 1984 and 1997 with radiographic follow-up available at 1 year or more postoperatively.

Methods— A case control study was conducted within the THA group to determine risk factors predisposing to femoral infarction after THA. Medical records and radiographs were reviewed. Data were collected on clinical parameters, femoral morphology, prosthesis, and bone changes. Radiographic diagnosis was confirmed using histopathology in 11 femora. Radiographs of 50 age-matched control dogs weighing more than 20 kg with coxofemoral degenerative joint disease were randomly chosen to determine the prevalence of bone infarction in nonoperated dogs.

Results— Ninety-one dogs with 110 THA were included in the study. Fifteen of the 110 femora with THA had radiographic evidence of infarction (14%). Infarction was not present in any femora in the control group. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of infarction between dogs that received cemented or uncemented prostheses. Clinical signs were not reported in any patient that developed femoral infarction. Young age (P = .03) and a distance between the greater trochanter and nutrient foramen greater than 79 mm (P = .008) predisposed dogs to femoral infarction. Over time, three infarcts decreased in size radiographically, five remained unchanged, and three expanded. An osteosarcoma developed at the site of a bone infarct in one dog.

Conclusion— Femoral intramedullary infarction occurred in 15 of 110 THA. Young age at the time of THA and a greater distance between the greater trochanter and the nutrient foramen predisposed to infarction.

Clinical Relevance— Intramedullary infarction occurs after canine THA. These bone infarcts do not appear to cause clinical signs; however, they may present a diagnostic challenge. Malignant transformation could potentially result from medullary infarction.