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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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School of Engineering and Materials Science
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PhD Thesis: The design of a novel hip resurfacing prosthesis

Author: THOMPSON, Mark

Year: 2001

Supervisor(s): Liz Tanner

Total hip replacement (THR) is one of the most successful and most frequently performed operations. For most implants the published rate of revision at 10 years is les than 10%. However the revision rates are higher for younger and more active patients who are likely to outlive their implants.
The most frequent cause of THR failure is aseptic loosening, commonly accompanied by bone loss at the implant size. THR revisions give worse functional results and fail sooner than primary THR and are complicated by this loss of bone stock.

A resurfacing hip prosthesis replaces the diseased surface layer of bone and cartilage and retains the majority of the femoral head. The stress distribution in the proximal femur is close to that in an intact hip. A conservative resurfacing prosthesis will present the surgeon with no greater problems at revision than encountered at primary conventional THR.

Early designs of resurfacing prosthesis conserved femoral bone stock at the expense of acetabular bone. Revision rates were high and while some failures were caused by avascular necrosis and femoral neck fracture the predominant cause was acetabular loosening.

The design of a bone conserving prosthesis requires knowledge of the shape of the bony surfaces of the hip joint. A survey of the morphology of the acetabulum showed a wide variation in shape. While early resurfacing designs had hemispherical acetabular cups the bony surface is less than hemispherical. The morphology and desired range of hip motion constrain prosthesis thickness and shape.

A novel resurfacing design using a polyacetal femoral component and an UHMWPE acetabular component is proposed. This bearing combination has a lower volumetric wear rate than an equivalent Co-Cr on UHWMPE bearing. Computer modelling of the resurfacing concept showed that lower moduli materials reduced stress shielding and distributed implant-bone interface stresses more evenly. Mechanical testing of polyacetal following immersion in Ringer's solution showed substantial decreases in Young's modulus while strength was unaffected.