Differences in External and Internal Cortical Strain with Prosthesis in the Femur

Olav Reikeras*, 1, Gudrun T Aarnes 1, Harald Steen 1, Per Ludvigsen 1, Geir Sagvolden 2, 3
1 Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet, NO-0027 Oslo, Norway
2 National Defence Research Institute, NO-2007 Kjeller, Norway
3 Light Strucures AS, NO-0571 Oslo, Norway

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© Reikeras et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet, NO-0027 Oslo, Norway; Tel: +47-23076013; Fax: +47 23076010; E-mail:


The contact between a femoral stem prosthesis and the internal surface of the cortical bone with the stress in the interface is of crucial importance with respect to loosening. However, there are no reports of strain patterns at this site, and the main aim of the current study was to investigate differences of internal and external cortical strain in the proximal femur after insertion of a stem prosthesis. The external cortical strain of a human cadaveric femur was measured with strain gauges before and after implantation of a stem prosthesis. By use of optical fibres embedded longitudinally in the endosteal cortex, deformations at the implant–internal cortex interface could also be measured. The main external deformation during loading of the intact femur occurred as compression of the medial cortex; both at the proximal and distal levels. The direction of the principal strain on the medial and lateral aspects was close to the longitudinal axis of the bone. After resection of the femoral neck and insertion of a stem prosthesis, the changes in external strain values were greatest medially at the proximal level, where the magnitude of deformation in compression was reduced to about half the values measured on the intact specimen. Otherwise, there were rather small changes in external principal strain. However, by comparing vertical strain in the external and internal cortex of the proximal femur, there were great differences in values and patterns at all positions. The transcortical differences in strain varied from compression on one side to distraction on the other and vice versa in some of the positions with a correlation coefficient of 0.07. Our results show that differences exist between the external and internal cortical strain when loading a stem prosthesis. Hence, strain at the internal cortex does not correspond and can not be deducted from measured strain at the external cortex.

Keywords: Deformation, femur, hip, optical fibre, prosthesis, strain.