Joint Contact Changes with Undersized Prosthetic Radial Heads

Daniel R. Bachman, Sangeun Park, Sutee Thaveepunsan, James S. Fitzsimmons, Kai Nan An, Shawn W. O'Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate the effect of intentional undersizing of prosthetic radial head implant diameters on joint contact pressures.Methods:Eight fresh-frozen cadaveric elbows were aligned in neutral extension and loaded with 100 N using a custom testing apparatus. Radiocapitellar contact pressures were recorded using a Tekscan thin-film pressure sensor. Prosthetic radial head replacement was performed with 2 prostheses: the Anatomic Radial Head and the Evolve Proline Radial Head prostheses. Each design was sized according to the manufacturer's recommendations and then again using 2-mm smaller radial heads.Results:Average and peak pressures were significantly higher with the Evolve than the Anatomic prostheses (P < 0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Peak pressures decreased from 4.2 ± 0.5 MPa to 2.9 ± 0.3 MPa for the Anatomic Radial Heads and from 5.6 ± 0.5 MPa to 3.9 ± 0.6 MPa when the Evolve Radial Heads were undersized by 2 mm. The mean pressures of the Anatomic Radial Heads (1.4 ± 0.1 MPa) did not change significantly with undersizing (1.3 ± 0.1 MPa, P = 0.12), whereas the mean pressures of the Evolve Radial Heads (1.6 ± 0.1 MPa) were significantly reduced with undersizing (1.4 ± 0.1 MPa, P < 0.02).Conclusion:Both mean and peak pressures were initially high for the Evolve Radial Head sized based on the short axis diameter and were improved with further undersizing by 2 mm. Peak, but not mean, contact pressures were improved by undersizing the Anatomic prosthesis based on the long axis diameter.Clinical Relevance:These findings support the clinical recommendation of some surgeons to undersize the Evolve prosthesis by 2-mm smaller diameter than the current manufacturer's suggestion and give reason to consider doing the same for the Anatomic prosthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E440-E444
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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