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Int Orthop. 2013 Oct;37(10):1877-83. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2052-9. Epub 2013 Aug 18.

Influence of stem design on the primary stability of megaprostheses of the proximal femur.

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Laboratory of Biomechanics and Implant Research, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Schlierbacher Landstrasse 200a, 69118, Heidelberg, Germany,



Extended bone defects of the proximal femur can be reconstructed by megaprostheses for which aseptic loosening constitutes one of the major failure modes. The basic requirement for long-term success of endoprostheses is primary stability. We therefore assessed whether sufficient primary stability can be achieved by four different megaprostheses in a standardised bone defect of the proximal femur and whether their different design leads to different fixation patterns.


Four different designs of proximal femoral replacements were implanted into 16 Sawbones® after preparing segmental bone defects (AAOS type II). Primary rotational stability was analysed by application of a cyclic torque of ±7 Nm and measuring the relative micromotions between bone and implant at different levels. The main fixation zones and differences of fixation patterns of the stem designs were determined by an analysis of variance.


All four implants exhibited micromotions below 150 μm, indicating adequate primary stability. Lowest micromotions for all designs were located near the femoral isthmus. The extent of primary stability and the global implant fixation pattern differed considerably and could be related to the different design concepts.


All megaprostheses studied provided sufficient primary stability if the fixation conditions of the femoral isthmus were intact. The design characteristics of the different stems largely determined the extent of primary stability and fixation pattern. Understanding these different fixation types could help the surgeon to choose the most suitable implant if the fixation conditions in the isthmus are compromised.

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