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Osteopetrosis is a rare, inherited, bone disorder, characterized by osteosclerosis, obliteration of the medullary cavity and calcified cartilage. The autosomal dominant form is compatible with a normal life span, although fractures often result from minimal trauma, due to the pathologic nature of bone. Osteomyelitis is common in patients with osteopetrosis because of a reduced resistance to infection, attributed to the lack of marrow vascularity and impairment of white cell function. Only one case of osteomyelitis of the proximal third of the femur has been previously reported, treated with several repeated debridements and finally with femoral head resection. Here we present for the first time a case of a staged implant of a cementless total hip prosthesis for the treatment of a septic hip in femoral neck nonunion in osteopetrosis.
A 36-years-old woman, affected by autosomal dominant osteopetrosis was referred to our department because of a septic hip arthritis associated with femoral neck septic non-union, with draining fistulas. The infection occurred early after a plate osteosynthesis for a closed perthrocanteric fracture of the femur and persisted in spite of osteosynthesis removal, surgical debridement and external fixation. In our hospital the patient underwent accurate debridement, femoral head and greater trochanter resection, preparation of the diaphyseal intramedullary canal and implant of an antibiotic-loaded cement spacer. The spacer was exchanged after one month, due to infection recurrence and four months later, a cementless total hip arthroplasty was implanted, with no clinical and laboratory signs of infection recurrence at two years follow-up.
In case of hip septic arthritis and proximal femur septic non-union, femoral head resection may not be the only option available and staged total hip arthroplasty can be considered.