Research Papers

A Biomechanical and Finite Element Analysis of Femoral Neck Notching During Hip Resurfacing

[+] Author and Article Information
Edward T. Davis

 Royal Orthopaedic NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham B31-2AP, UK

Michael Olsen

Martin Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5B-1W8, Canada

Rad Zdero1

Martin Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5B-1W8, Canadazderor@smh.toronto.on.ca

Marcello Papini

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, M5B-2K3, Canada

James P. Waddell

Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5B-1W8, Canada

Emil H. Schemitsch

Martin Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5B-1W8, Canada; Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5B-1W8, Canada


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 131(4), 041002 (Jan 30, 2009) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3072889 History: Received November 19, 2007; Revised August 07, 2008; Published January 30, 2009

Hip resurfacing is an alternative to total hip arthroplasty in which the femoral head surface is replaced with a metallic shell, thus preserving most of the proximal femoral bone stock. Accidental notching of the femoral neck during the procedure may predispose it to fracture. We examined the effect of neck notching on the strength of the proximal femur. Six composite femurs were prepared without a superior femoral neck notch, six were prepared in an inferiorly translated position to create a 2 mm notch, and six were prepared with a 5 mm notch. Six intact synthetic femurs were also tested. The samples were loaded to failure axially. A finite element model of a composite femur with increasing superior notch depths computed maximum equivalent stress and strain distributions. Experimental results showed that resurfaced synthetic femurs were significantly weaker than intact femurs (mean failure of 7034 N, p<0.001). The 2 mm notched group (mean failure of 4034 N) was significantly weaker than the un-notched group (mean failure of 5302 N, p=0.018). The 5 mm notched group (mean failure of 2808 N) was also significantly weaker than both the un-notched and the 2 mm notched groups (p<0.001, p=0.023, respectively). The finite element model showed the maximum equivalent strain in the superior reamed cancellous bone increasing with corresponding notch size. Fracture patterns inferred from equivalent stress distributions were consistent with those obtained from mechanical testing. A superior notch of 2 mm weakened the proximal femur by 24%, and a 5 mm notch weakened it by 47%. The finite element analysis substantiates this showing increasing stress and strain distributions within the prepared femoral neck with increasing notch depth.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Mechanical testing construct with loading jig and distal condyle fixator, (b) radiograph of stem-shaft angle verification demonstrating superior neck notch, and (c) CAD model of composite femur and loading jig

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Figure 2

(a) CAD model illustrating resurfacing implant, cement mantle, and femoral head prepared with a superior femoral neck notch and (b) 5 mm notched model illustrating cancellous bone mesh refinement in the superior notch area

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Figure 3

Mean ultimate load-to-failure for composite femurs (error bars represent standard deviation)

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Figure 4

Mechanical testing fracture patterns: (a) 5 mm notch femur, (b) no-notch femur, and (c) intact femur

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Figure 5

Equivalent strain distribution according to notch size for maximum axial load condition and mean failure load condition determined from mechanical testing

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Figure 6

Cancellous bone strain distribution for the 5 mm notch model

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Figure 7

Equivalent stress distribution: (a) 5 mm notch model, (b) no-notch model, and (c) Intact model




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