Insertion of tantalum beads in RSA of the hip: variations in incidence of extra-osseous beads with insertion site

D. F. Lawrie, George Patrick Ashcroft, P. H. Gibson

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Radiostereometric analysis (RSA) is a technique that can be used to measure the in-vivo micro-motion of the components of hip arthroplasty. It requires the insertion of tantalum beads into the bone permitting analysis of the radiographs. Extra-osseous beads reduce the usable bead pattern and previous studies have reported their incidence in the proximal femur as between 11% and 13% of all inserted beads. We reviewed the relative incidence of extra-osseous beads by examining 1038 radiographs of 97 patients who were part of an ongoing RSA hip study. Extra-osseous beads were seen in 44% of our patients with most having a single extra-osseous bead. The relative incidence of extra-osseous beads was 2% and 6% in the femur and pelvis, respectively. We observed a reduction in the incidence of the femoral beads with time, but not of the pelvis, which suggests that experience in the insertion technique improves the insertion rates at least of the femur. Our findings indicate that the incidence of extra-osseous beads is lower than previously reported. However, care should be taken in the design of studies to ensure that an adequate number of beads are placed in locations which are both surgically achievable and technically useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-407
Number of pages3
JournalActa Orthopaedica Scandinavica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003



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