Stress shielding in periprosthetic bone following a total knee replacement: effects of implant material, design and alignment

Qing-Hang Zhang, Andrew Cossey, Jie Tong

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Periprosthetic bone strain distributions in some of the typical cases of total knee replacement (TKR) were studied with regard to the selection of material, design and the alignments of tibial components to examine which conditions are more forgiving than the others to stress shielding post a TKR. Four tibial components with two implant designs (cruciate sacrificing and cruciate retaining) and material properties (metal-backed (MB) and all-polyethylene (AP)) were considered in a specimen specific finite element tibia bone model loaded in a neutral position. The influence of tibial material and design on the periprosthetic bone strain response was investigated under the peak loads of walking and stair descending/ascending. Two of the models were also modified to examine the effect of selected implant malalignment conditions (7° posterior, 5° valgus and 5° varus) on stress shielding in the bone, where the medio-lateral load share ratios were adjusted accordingly. The predicted increases of bone density due to implantation for the selected cases studied were also presented.

For the cases examined, the effect of stress shielding on the periprosthetic bone seems to be more significantly influenced by the implant material than by the implant geometry. Significant stress shielding is found in MB cases, as opposed to increase in bone density found in AP cases, particularly in the bones immediately beneath the baseplate. The effect of stress shielding is reduced somewhat for the MB components in the malaligned positions compared with the neutral case. In AP cases, the effect of stress shielding is mostly low except in the varus position, possibly due to off-loading of lateral condyle. Increases in bone density are found in both MB and AP cases for the malaligned conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1488
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Issue number12
Early online date10 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • total knee replacement
  • tibial component
  • stress shielding
  • finite element
  • periprosthetic
  • malalignment


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