Radiological identification of Zweymüller-type femoral stem prosthesis in revision cases

Saverio Affatato, Saverio Comitini, M. Fosco, Aldo Toni, Domenico Tigani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Since 1979 the number of patients treated with femoral stems has continued to grow, as well as the number of stems with features similar to the Zweymüller prosthesis produced by different companies. Identification can be problematic in case requiring revision. In the present paper, we present an overview of morphometric differences between the different stem designs, which can be useful for radiologic identification in revision cases. Methods: By doing some research on the Internet of specialized sites and worldwide literature, we searched for all femoral stems agreeing with Zweymüller principles (cementless, straight, tapered, rectangular cross-sectioned femoral stems). Results: We found 26 different stems from different companies producing or having produced in the past the Zweymüller-type femoral stems for hip prosthesis. Discussion: Accurate preoperative identification of the Zweymüller femoral stem type may be of critical importance to eventual outcomes following revision surgery. Each manufacturer has different instruments specific to the removal of their primary implants, and ensuring they are available can simplify the revision procedure significantly. Exact pre-operative planning is also necessary for selecting the correct ball head in cases where a stem is well-fixed and can be left in situ. The commonly used notation "Eurocone 12/14" provides no information about the actual taper angle. Whenever the stem is left in situ, the exact specifications of the taper must therefore be obtained from the manufacturer in order to use a metal sleeve that precisely fits it and the ball head. Failure to do so may result in severe complications, such as metallosis. In cases where it is not possible to identify the taper angle, the surgeon may even consider removal of the stem, though this significantly increases the surgical procedure's invasiveness. Only a single, uniform standard taper, such as that offered until 1994 by CeramTec, can solve these issues in the future. Conclusion: The survival rate of the Zweymüller stems after ten years was 96 % and the complication rate was very low. Pre-operative identification of the femoral implant is of considerable importance for planning and correctly implementing revision procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Feb 29 2016


  • Cementless
  • Hip designs
  • Radiologic identification
  • Taper angle compatibility
  • Total hip arthroplasty
  • Zweymüller hip prosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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