A comparison of subsidence of Exeter standard and long stemsDavis ET, Heaver CE, Pynsent PB, Pearson AM, Treacy RBC.
The survivorship of the polished, double taper Exeter stem is related to subsidence within the cement mantle. Long Exeter stems have altered geometry which may influence subsidence characteristics. Using digitised x-rays and appropriate computer software we measured the subsidence of 35 standard and 40 long stem Exeter implants. Measurements were taken from initial postoperative radiographs and repeated at intervals up to 5 years. Long stem implants were used in cemented revisions without the use of impaction bone grafting. Subsidence rates of the standard length stems in our study were comparable to that in published literature. Long stems did not replicate this subsidence pattern and had subsided less at 6, 12 and 24 months. However, the 205mm long stem, which has a fully tapered design, did follow the subsidence characteristics of the standard stem.
Subsidence of long stem Exeter implants does not mirror that of the standard length stem. Loss of the fully tapered geometry of the longer stem implants may account for this finding. We suggest that whenever possible, the 205mm long stem should be used if the biomechanical principles of the standard Exeter stem are to be utilised.