Original Article

Journal of Orthopaedic Science

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 969-976

First online:

Leg length discrepancy and lower limb alignment after total hip arthroplasty in unilateral hip osteoarthritis patients

  • Hiroshi FujimakiAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University
  • , Yutaka InabaAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University Email author 
  • , Naomi KobayashiAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University
  • , Taro TezukaAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University
  • , Yasuhide HirataAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University
  • , Tomoyuki SaitoAffiliated withDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yokohama City University

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Abstract

Background

Leg length discrepancy (LLD) following total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a leading cause of patient dissatisfaction. However, no reports have described the influence of lower limb alignment on LLD after THA. In the present study, we firstly investigated the change in lower limb alignment after THA. Secondly, we determined the influence of lower limb alignment on LLD after THA. Thirdly, we evaluated the influence of LLD in the entire lower leg on the clinical outcomes after THA.

Methods

We followed up with 54 unilateral hip osteoarthritis (OA) patients 1 year after THA. For the radiological assessment of LLD and lower limb alignment, we obtained anteroposterior radiographs of the pelvis and both lower legs in entirety in a standing position before and 1 year after THA. The Harris Hip Score (HHS), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), and Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36) were also obtained to assess the clinical outcome.

Resuts

The alignment of the affected leg, which was more valgus than the unaffected leg before THA, tended toward varus after THA, and the discrepancy between the lower limb alignments on both sides decreased. However, the alignment discrepancies that remained after THA influenced the LLD measured on the radiograph of the entire lower leg, and this LLD influenced the clinical outcome as measured by the HHS and the WOMAC score.

Conclusions

LLD in the entire lower leg should be corrected for a better clinical outcome after THA.