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Objective— To evaluate femoral adaptation after unstable long-term cemented total hip arthroplasty (cTHA) in dogs.

Study Design— Clinical study.

Animals— Four dogs.

Methods— Paired femurs were examined from client-owned dogs that were donated to a retrieval program after death from causes unrelated to their cTHA. Mean (±SEM) dog age was 10.0±1.5 years and implant duration was 6.0±1.4 years. Implanted femurs had radiographic changes associated with implant loosening and gross mechanical instability at femur retrieval. Femurs were evaluated at 3 levels relative to implant length. Cortical area and medullary area were measured at each level, and cortical porosity was assessed at each level in 4 quadrants and in 3 regions. Implanted femurs were compared with the contralateral non-implanted femurs.

Results— Cortical area and cortical porosity were increased at all levels in femurs with unstable implants. Implanted femurs had increased porosity in all quadrants and regions at the proximal 2 levels, and increased porosity in only the cranial quadrant and mid-cortical area at the distal level, when compared with contralateral non-implanted femurs. Corresponding medullary areas were not different.

Conclusions— Significant histomorphometric changes occur in femurs after unstable cTHA. The patterns of periosteal bone formation and endosteal bone resorption support mechanisms of stress shielding and wear debris-mediated osteolysis as factors that may contribute to femoral adaptation and implant loosening.

Clinical Relevance— Despite popularity and excellent return to function with cTHA, aseptic loosening remains a serious long-term complication. Substantial net bone loss and unfavorable environment with unstable cTHA may make revision surgery less successful.