[Cementless socket fixation based on the "press-fit" concept in total hip joint arthroplasty]

E W Morscher, K H Widmer, H Bereiter, R Elke, R Schenk
Acta Chirurgiae Orthopaedicae et Traumatologiae Cechoslovaca 2002, 69 (1): 8-15

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The key problem of implant fixation in THR is stress distribution, i.e. load transmission between bone and implant. The closer the load transfer is to the original physiological situation, the easier the adaptation of the periprosthetic bone to the new biomechanical conditions after implantation of the cup and the safer is its longlasting fixation. The aims of the studies were 1) to get information about the physiological load transfer in the normal hip joint, 2) to get information about the load transfer between acetabulum and acetabular sockets and vice versa, 3) to measure the periacetabular pelvic bone deformation as the stimulator of the remodelling process (third stage of osseointegration) in the normal hip joint and in hip joints fitted with different acetabular cups, 4) to study the morphological stages of osseointegration of a non-cemented press-fit cup and to compare the morphological structure of the periacetabular bone with the biomechanical data obtained by the in vitro studies and finally, 5) to compare the clinical and radiological outcome of follow-up studies of the senior author's "Press-Fit cup" with the theoretical hypotheses according to the experimental observations.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Load transfer between the acetabular bone and the femoral head on one side and press-fit cups has been determined by strain gauge measurements, finite element studies, pressure sensitive Fuji prescale films, CT-osteoabsorptiometry and telemetric measurements. Periacetabular deformation has been measured by Imetric Markers. Osseointegration of the senior author's press-fit cup and, thus, the remodelling process of the bony structures adjacent to the cup have been studied in autopsy specimens of THRs which have been in situ for several years.

RESULTS: Load transfer measurements have shown that the main load in the original acetabulum as well as in the acetabulum fitted with a press-fit cup is transmitted to the periphery, especially to the acetabular cortical rim whereas the subchondral bone is exposed to lower, predominantly meridional (tension) stresses. Direct measurements of the periacetabular deformation under load revealed an increase of the peripheral press-fit with increasing stability of a (oversized) press-fit cup. Both the normal as well as the acetabulum fitted with a non-cemented cup deforms in a postero-medial direction. The histo-morphology of the periacetabular bone of autopsy specimens showed excellent bony in- and ongrowth of a porous titanium coating (SULMESH) and bone formation, especially at the periphery in zone 1 and 3 according to DeLee and Charnley.

CONCLUSION: The studies have shown that the subchondral bone plate of the acetabulum has very little supportive function for non-cemented press-fit cups. For the preparation of the acetabulum it is, therefore, more important to ream the sclerotic subchondral bone until there is a well vascularized, well bleeding bone bed to facilitate osseointegration of a non-cemented acetabular socket than to preserve the subchondral bone plate as is the case in cement fixation. A non-cemented press-fit socket must transmit load predominantly to the cortical bone of the acetabular rim. Therefore, a too far medial positioning of the cup, and therefore loosing contact to the cortical rim, must be avoided under all circumstances. The clinical experience with acetabular revisions and with conversions of hip arthrodeses into a THR (where there is no subchondral bone at all) have shown the superiority of a well vascularized over a sclerotic (even mechanically stronger) bone bed. Furthermore, it has been shown that the additional use of screws for fixation of an acetabular cup is not only unnecessary but can be deleterious and causes complications including osteolysis and aseptic loosening.

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