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General Orthopaedics


The Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) and Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society (CORS) Annual General Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, 8–11 June 2022. Part 1 of 2.


Revision surgeries for orthopaedic infections are done in two stages – one surgery to implant an antibiotic spacer to clear the infection and another to install a permanent implant. A permanent porous implant, that can be loaded with antibiotics and allow for single-stage revision surgery, will benefit patients and save healthcare resources. Gyroid structures can be constructed with high porosity, without stress concentrations that can develop in other period porous structures [1] [2]. The purpose of this research is to compare the resulting bone and prosthesis stress distributions when porous versus solid stems are implanted into three proximal humeri with varying bone densities, using finite element models (FEM).

Porous humeral stems were constructed in a gyroid structure at porosities of 60%, 70%, and 80% using computer-aided design (CAD) software. These CAD models were analyzed using FEM (Abaqus) to look at the stress distributions within the proximal humerus and the stem components with loads and boundary conditions representing the arm actively maintained at 120˚ of flexion. The stem was assumed to be made of titanium (Ti6Al4V). Three different bone densities were investigated, representing a healthy, an osteopenic, and an osteoporotic humerus, with an average bone shape created using a statistical shape and density model (SSDM) based on 75 cadaveric shoulders (57 males and 18 females, 73 12 years) [3]. The Young's moduli (E) of the cortical and trabecular bones were defined on an element-by-element basis, with a minimum allowable E of 15 MPa. The Von Mises stress distributions in the bone and the stems were compared between different stem scenarios for each bone density model.

A preliminary analysis shows an increase in stress values at the proximal-lateral region of the humerus when using the porous stems compared to the solid stem, which becomes more prominent as bone density decreases. With the exception of a few mesh dependent singularities, all three porous stems show stress distributions below the fatigue strength of Ti-6Al-4V (410 MPa) for this loading scenario when employed in the osteopenic and osteoporotic humeri [4]. The 80% porosity stem had a single strut exceeding the fatigue strength when employed in the healthy bone.

The results of this study indicate that the more compliant nature of the porous stem geometries may allow for better load transmission through the proximal humeral bone, better matching the stress distributions of the intact bone and possibly mitigating stress-shielding effects. Importantly, this study also indicates that these porous stems have adequate strength for long-term use, as none were predicted to have catastrophic failure under the physiologically-relevant loads. Although these results are limited to a single boney geometry, it is based on the average shape of 75 shoulders and different bone densities are considered. Future work could leverage the shape model for probabilistic models that could explore the effect of stem porosity across a broader population. The development of these models are instrumental in determining if these structures are a viable solution to combatting orthopaedic implant infections.