Evaluation of cement stresses in finite element analyses of cemented orthopaedic implants

Alex Lennon, P.J. Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Stress analysis of the cement fixation of orthopaedic implants to bone is frequently? carried out using finite element analysis. However, the stress distribution in the cement laver is usually intricate, and it is difficult to report it in a way that facilitates comparison of implants for pre-clinical testing. To study this problem, and make recommendations for stress reporting, a finite element analysis of a hip prosthesis implanted into a synthetic composite femur is developed. Three cases are analyzed: a fully bonded implant, a debonded implant, and a debonded implant where the cement is removed distal to the stein tip. In addition to peak stresses, and contour and vector plots, a stressed volume and probability-of-failure analysis is reported. It is predicted that the peak stress is highest for the debonded stem, and that removal of the distal cement more than halves this peak stress. This would suggest that omission of the distal cement is good for polished prostheses (as practiced for the Exeter design). However; if the percentage of cement stressed above a certain threshold (say 3 MPa) is considered, then the removal of distal cement is shown to be disadvantageous because a higher volume of cement is stressed to above the threshold. Vector plots clearly demonstrate the different load transfer for bonded and debonded prostheses: A bonded stein generates maximum tensile stresses in the longitudinal direction, whereas a debonded stem generates most tensile stresses in the hoop direction, except near the tip where tensile longitudinal stresses occur due to subsidence of the stein. Removal of the cement distal to the tip allows greater subsidence but alleviates these large stresses at the tip, albeit at the expense of increased hoop stresses throughout the mantle. It is concluded that a thorough analysis of cemented implants should not report peak stress, which can be misleading, but rather stressed volume, and that vector plots should be reported if a precise analysis of the load transfer mechanism is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-628
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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