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There are no recent studies comparing cable with wire for the fixation of osteotomies or fractures in total hip replacement (THR). Our objective was to evaluate the five-year clinical and radiological outcomes and complication rates of the two techniques. We undertook a review including all primary and revision THRs performed in one hospital between 1996 and 2005 using cable or wire fixation. Clinical and radiological evaluation was performed five years post-operatively. Cables were used in 51 THRs and wires in 126, and of these, 36 THRs with cable (71%) and 101 with wire (80%) were evaluated at follow-up. The five-year radiographs available for 33 cable and 91 wire THRs revealed rates of breakage of fixation of 12 of 33 (36%) and 42 of 91 (46%), respectively. With cable there was a significantly higher risk of metal debris (68% vs. 9%; adjusted relative risk (RR) 6.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0 to 14.1), nonunion (36% vs. 21%; adjusted RR 2.0; 95% CI 1.0 to 3.9) and osteolysis around the material, acetabulum or femur (61% vs 19%; adjusted RR 3.9; 95% CI 2.3 to 6.5). Cable breakage increased the risk of osteolysis to 83%. There was a trend towards foreign-body reaction and increased infection with cables. Clinical results did not differ between the groups. In conclusion, we found a higher incidence of complications and a trend towards increased infection and foreign-body reaction with the use of cables.

Original publication




Journal article


J bone joint surg br

Publication Date





1475 - 1481


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Bone Wires, Female, Femur, Fractures, Bone, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Orthopedic Fixation Devices, Osteotomy, Postoperative Complications, Prospective Studies, Radiography, Treatment Outcome