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The tram track sign: a characteristic sonographic feature of polyethylene liner dissociation after total-hip arthroplasty



The tram track sign: a characteristic sonographic feature of polyethylene liner dissociation after total-hip arthroplasty



Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine 33(11): 1931-1937



Polyethylene liner dissociation from an acetabular component is a complication of total-hip arthroplasty (THA) caused by slippage of the liner, which causes pain and requires a revision. The aim of this study was to evaluate sonographic features of liner dissociation and detect useful sonographic findings compared to conventional radiography and computed tomography (CT). Among a total of 226 patients who underwent revision THA at our institution between September 2008 and June 2012, 10 patients (6 male and 4 female; mean age, 56.2 years) who showed severe narrowing of the superior joint space on the THA side and underwent sonography were retrospectively reviewed by evaluating radiographic, CT, and sonographic findings. In evaluation of the images, we put more emphasis on the "radiographic crescent sign," "CT crescent sign," and "sonographic tram track sign." At surgery, 7 patients showed liner dissociation, and 3 showed severe liner wear. On radiography, 8 of 10 patients (80%) had a correct diagnosis of the presence or absence of liner dissociation; on sonography, all 10 patients (100%) had a correct diagnosis. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for diagnosis of liner dissociation by pelvic radiography and sonography were 100% (7 of 7), 33% (1 of 3), and 80% (8 of 10) and 100% (7 of 7), 100% (3 of 3), and 100% (10 of 10), respectively. Liner dissociation can be easily and well visualized by sonography, especially compared to pelvic radiography and CT. The sonographic tram track sign should be a very useful feature in the early diagnosis of liner dissociation.

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Accession: 056514536

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25336480

DOI: 10.7863/ultra.33.11.1931


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