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imageBackground: Pressure ulceration, pyogenic arthritis, and hip heterotopic ossification are complications encountered in spinal cord injury patients. The Girdlestone procedure has been established as an effective treatment modality for hip pathology in this population and is particularly efficacious when a muscle flap is used to fill the femoral resection defect. We previously reported its use as a 3-stage procedure. Through time, experience was gained, and consequently, our technique has evolved to a 1-stage procedure.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of all spinal cord injury patients who had undergone Girdlestone arthroplasty or excision of heterotopic ossification by the pressure ulcer management team at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center between 1991 and 2005 was performed. A description of our management, operative protocol, outcome, and complication is given.
Results: Over 15 years (between 1991 and 2005), 295 patients underwent 330 procedures. Hips were operated for infection, heterotopic ossification, pressure ulceration, dislocation, femoral head necrosis, or fracture or a combination of the above. Twenty-five cases (7.6%) required surgical revision for wound breakdown in the immediate postoperative period. Average follow-up was 40.3 months; 43.6% of patients developed recurrence of ulceration requiring surgery. The average time until recurrence was 27.3 months.
Conclusions: The Girdlestone arthroplasty is an effective modality to treat hip infection, ankylosis, heterotopic ossification, dislocation, or other pathology associated with the spinal cord injury patient. Long-term follow-up of a large patient population reveals the efficacy of the procedure in preventing recurrence and improving patient quality of life.

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