Engineering and Computer Science Faculty Publications


Bone Creep and Short and Long Term Subsidence After Cemented Stem Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA)

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Journal of Biomechanics





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Stem–cement and cement–bone interfacial failures as well as cement fractures have been noted in cemented total hip arthroplasty (THA) as the cause of aseptic loosening. Attempts to reduce the risk of femoral component loosening include improving the stem–cement interface by various coatings, using a textured or porous coated stem surfaces or by using a tapered stem having a highly-polished surface. The latter approach, often referred to as “force-closed” femoral stem design, would theoretically result in stem stabilization subsequent to debonding and ‘taper-lock’. Previous work using three-dimensional finite element analysis has shown a state of stress at the stem–cement interface indicative of ‘taper-lock’ for the debonded stem and indicated that stem–cement interface friction and bone cement creep played a significant role in the magnitudes of stresses and subsidence of the stem. However, the previous analysis did not include the viscoelastic properties of bone, which has been hypothesized to permit additional expansion of the bone canal and allow additional stem subsidence (Lu and McKellop, 1997). The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of bone viscoelastic behavior on stem subsidence using a 3D finite element analysis. It was hypothesized that the viscoelastic behavior of bone in the hoop direction would allow expansion of the bone reducing the constraint on bone over time and permit additional stem subsidence, which may account for the discrepancies between predicted and clinical subsidence measurements. Analyses were conducted using physiological loads, ‘average peak loads’ and ‘high peak loads’ for ‘normal patient’ and ‘active patient’ (Bergmann et al., 2010) from which short and long term subsidence was predicted. Results indicated that bone creep does contribute to higher stem subsidence initially and after 10 years of simulated loading. However, it was concluded that the “constraint” upon the cement mantle is not mitigated enough to result in stem subsidence equivalent to that observed clinically.


Cemented total hip arthroplasty, Cortical bone creep, Bone cement creep, Stem subsidence, Stem–cement interface failure