The silicone metacarpophalangeal joint arthroplasty: An in-vitro analysis

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2023 Dec:110:106120. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2023.106120. Epub 2023 Oct 10.


Background: Silicone is still the gold standard implant in metacarpophalangeal arthroplasty. Whereas the clinical results are acceptable, in follow-ups with >10 years, high rates of implant fracture are common, and 5 to 7% of implants required revision. This work's purpose is to analyse the hypothesis that the joint flexion amplitude has a relevant effect on bone strain level, implant stress and bone-implant micromotion, which can reflect an increase in the risk of bone resorption/fatigue failure, implant fracture and osteolysis.

Methods: To experimentally predict the cortical loading behaviour, composite metacarpals and proximal phalanges were used in intact and implanted states. A finite element model was developed to evaluate the structural behaviour of cancellous bone and implant. This model was validated by comparing cortical strain and load-displacement curve with experimental measurements.

Findings: Bone strain changes between the intact and the implanted states showed a load transfer effect from the cortical to the cancellous bone that increases significantly with the flexion's amplitude rise. The peak implant stress occurred in the flexion amplitudes further away from the implant neutral angle. The highest implant pistoning motion and the highest phalanx cancellous-bone strain occurred simultaneously at the maximum flexion amplitude.

Interpretation: Limiting joint flexion range will be helpful to reduce the strain-shielding effect on cortical bone, minimizing the overload effect on cancellous bone and decreasing the stress levels and the pistoning motion on the implant, ultimately contributing to the longevity of silicone arthroplasty.

Keywords: Experimental strains; Finite element analysis; MCP joint; MCPX-Preflex implant; Silicone metacarpophalangeal arthroplasty; Strain gauges.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty* / methods
  • Cortical Bone / surgery
  • Humans
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / surgery
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Silicones*


  • Silicones