The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 8, 2580 - 2586

Mechanical Stability of the Taper Connection of Large Metal Femoral Heads With Adapter Sleeves in Total Hip Arthroplasty Analyzed Using Explicit Finite Element Simulations

Vogel, Danny et al.


Large diameter heads (LDHs) of metal-on-metal bearings in total hip arthroplasty provide increased range of motion and reduced dislocation rates. However, major concerns grew over high wear rates from the modular connection between femoral stem and head, especially in combination with adapter sleeves.


A computational study on the taper connection stability of LDH (50 mm) with adapter sleeves of different lengths (S, M, L, and XL) compared with a standard femoral head (32 mm) without adapter sleeves was conducted using explicit finite element analyses. Four different impact configurations were considered resulting from varied mallet mass (0.5 vs 1.0 kg) and velocity (1.0 vs 2.0 m/s). The taper stability was evaluated by determination of the pull-off forces and micromotions due to simulated joint loads during walking (2 kN and 7.9 Nm, respectively). Moreover, the deformations of the adapter sleeves and the contact area in the taper connections were evaluated.


Although the pull-off forces of the LDH with different-sized adapter sleeves were comparable, contact area decreased and adapter sleeve deformations increased (up to 283%) with an increasing adapter sleeve length. Moreover, the micromotions of LDH with adapter sleeves were up to 7-times higher, as compared with the standard femoral head without an adapter sleeve.


The present numerical study confirms that the assembly technique of LDH with adapter sleeves reveals increased micromotions compared with standard femoral head sizes. We could demonstrate that deviations of the stem trunnion geometry and improper surgical instructions led to worse mechanical stability of the taper connection.

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