Effect of stem position and length on bone-stem constructs after cementless hip arthroplasty

Bone Joint Res. 2021 Apr;10(4):250-258. doi: 10.1302/2046-3758.104.BJR-2020-0043.R3.


Aims: There are concerns regarding initial stability and early periprosthetic fractures in cementless hip arthroplasty using short stems. This study aimed to investigate stress on the cortical bone around the stem and micromotions between the stem and cortical bone according to femoral stem length and positioning.

Methods: In total, 12 femoral finite element models (FEMs) were constructed and tested in walking and stair-climbing. Femoral stems of three different lengths and two different positions were simulated, assuming press-fit fixation within each FEM. Stress on the cortical bone and micromotions between the stem and bone were measured in each condition.

Results: Stress concentration was observed on the medial and lateral interfaces between the cortical bone and stem. With neutral stem insertion, mean stress over a region of interest was greater at the medial than lateral interface regardless of stem length, which increased as the stem shortened. Mean stress increased in the varus-inserted stems compared to the stems inserted neutrally, especially at the lateral interface in contact with the stem tip. The maximum stress was observed at the lateral interface in a varus-inserted short stem. All mean stresses were greater in stair-climbing condition than walking. Each micromotion was also greater in shorter stems and varus-inserted stems, and in stair-climbing condition.

Conclusion: The stem should be inserted neutrally and stair-climbing movement should be avoided in the early postoperative period, in order to preserve early stability and reduce the possibility of thigh pain, especially when using a shorter stem. Cite this article: Bone Joint Res 2021;10(4):250-258.

Keywords: Finite element analysis; Hip arthroplasty; Stem length; Stem position.