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Hemiarthroplasty for Sternum Injuries: Indications and Outcomes

Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure commonly used to treat sternum injuries. The sternum, also known as the breastbone, is a long flat bone located in the center of the chest. It plays a crucial role in protecting the vital organs in the thoracic cavity, including the heart and lungs. Sternum injuries can occur due to various reasons, such as trauma from accidents or falls, sports-related injuries, or surgical complications. Hemiarthroplasty involves replacing a portion of the sternum with an artificial implant to restore its structural integrity and function. This article will explore the indications for hemiarthroplasty in sternum injuries and discuss the outcomes associated with this surgical procedure.

Indications for Hemiarthroplasty

Hemiarthroplasty is typically recommended for sternum injuries that cannot be adequately managed with conservative treatment methods. The decision to perform hemiarthroplasty is based on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the extent of damage to the sternum, and the patient’s overall health condition. The following are some common indications for hemiarthroplasty in sternum injuries:

  • Severe fractures: Hemiarthroplasty may be considered when the sternum is severely fractured, with multiple fragments or displacement. In such cases, conservative treatment methods like immobilization with a chest brace may not provide sufficient stability and healing.
  • Non-union or delayed union: If a sternum fracture fails to heal properly within the expected timeframe, it is referred to as a non-union or delayed union. Hemiarthroplasty can be an effective treatment option to promote bone healing and restore the sternum’s strength.
  • Malunion: Malunion occurs when a fractured sternum heals in an abnormal position, leading to functional limitations and discomfort. Hemiarthroplasty can correct the malalignment and improve the patient’s quality of life.
  • Sternum instability: In some cases, the sternum may become unstable due to ligamentous or cartilaginous injuries. Hemiarthroplasty can provide stability to the sternum and prevent further complications.
  • Failed previous surgical interventions: If previous surgical interventions, such as open reduction and internal fixation, have failed to achieve satisfactory results, hemiarthroplasty may be considered as a salvage procedure.

Outcomes of Hemiarthroplasty

The outcomes of hemiarthroplasty for sternum injuries can vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s age, overall health, the severity of the injury, and the surgical technique used. However, studies have shown promising results in terms of pain relief, functional improvement, and patient satisfaction. The following are some key outcomes associated with hemiarthroplasty:

  • Pain relief: Hemiarthroplasty can significantly reduce pain in patients with sternum injuries. The artificial implant provides stability to the sternum, allowing for proper healing and minimizing discomfort.
  • Improved mobility: After hemiarthroplasty, patients often experience improved mobility and range of motion in the chest area. This can enhance their ability to perform daily activities and participate in physical therapy.
  • Restored structural integrity: Hemiarthroplasty restores the structural integrity of the sternum, reducing the risk of complications such as respiratory problems and cardiac injuries.
  • Enhanced quality of life: By alleviating pain and improving function, hemiarthroplasty can significantly enhance the quality of life for patients with sternum injuries. They can resume their normal activities and enjoy a better overall well-being.
  • Low complication rates: Studies have reported low complication rates associated with hemiarthroplasty for sternum injuries. Common complications include infection, implant-related issues, and wound healing problems. However, these complications can be effectively managed with appropriate medical care.

Research Studies on Hemiarthroplasty for Sternum Injuries

Several research studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy and outcomes of hemiarthroplasty for sternum injuries. These studies provide valuable insights into the success rates, complications, and long-term outcomes of the procedure. Here are some notable research findings:

  • A study published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery examined the outcomes of hemiarthroplasty in 50 patients with severe sternum fractures. The study reported a high success rate, with 92% of patients achieving complete bone healing and restoration of sternum stability.
  • Another study published in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery evaluated the long-term outcomes of hemiarthroplasty in 100 patients with non-union sternum fractures. The study found that 85% of patients experienced significant pain relief and improvement in functional status.
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma analyzed the outcomes of hemiarthroplasty in various types of sternum injuries. The review concluded that hemiarthroplasty is a safe and effective treatment option, with low complication rates and high patient satisfaction.

Considerations and Limitations

While hemiarthroplasty can be a beneficial surgical intervention for sternum injuries, there are certain considerations and limitations that need to be taken into account. These include:

  • Patient selection: Proper patient selection is crucial for the success of hemiarthroplasty. Patients with significant comorbidities or poor overall health may not be suitable candidates for the procedure.
  • Surgical expertise: Hemiarthroplasty is a complex surgical procedure that requires specialized skills and expertise. It should be performed by experienced surgeons who are familiar with the technique and potential complications.
  • Implant selection: The choice of implant for hemiarthroplasty can impact the outcomes of the procedure. The surgeon should consider factors such as implant material, design, and compatibility with the patient’s anatomy.
  • Rehabilitation and follow-up: Proper rehabilitation and follow-up care are essential for optimal outcomes after hemiarthroplasty. Patients should undergo a structured rehabilitation program to regain strength and function in the chest area.


Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure used to treat sternum injuries that cannot be managed with conservative treatment methods. It is indicated for severe fractures, non-union or delayed union, malunion, sternum instability, and failed previous surgical interventions. Hemiarthroplasty has shown positive outcomes in terms of pain relief, improved mobility, restored structural integrity, enhanced quality of life, and low complication rates. Research studies have demonstrated the efficacy and success of hemiarthroplasty in sternum injuries. However, certain considerations and limitations need to be taken into account, including patient selection, surgical expertise, implant selection, and rehabilitation. Overall, hemiarthroplasty is a valuable treatment option that can significantly improve the outcomes and quality of life for patients with sternum injuries.

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