Objective - To determine the effects of femoral prosthesis stem length and head size on cement strains in a canine hip replacement system. Study Design - An in vitro experimental model. Sample Population - (1) Three standard and 3 1-cm shortened femoral implants with +3 femoral heads. (2) Two standard implants with +0, +3, and +6 femoral heads. Methods - Femoral stems were embedded in polymethylmethacrylate cement. A uniaxial proximodistal-oriented strain gauge was applied to the cement on the medial and lateral aspects of the construct 1.5 cm, 6.0 cm and 7.0 cm distal to the collar. Each construct with a +3 femoral head was mounted in a materials testing system. An axial compressive load (0-200 N) was applied to the femoral head and cement strains were recorded. Additionally, 2 standard length constructs were also tested with +0 and +6 femoral heads. The effects of stem length and neck length on cement strains were assessed with analysis of variance. Results - Strains increased at all locations with increasing loads for all constructs. Shorter implants had higher strains by 152% and 171%, lateral (P = .003) and medial (P = .0025) to the stem tip. No significant strain differences were noted, at any strain gauge location, between different neck lengths (P values ranged from .20 to .67). Conclusions - Although a shorter implant stem has a potential to improve implant fit, it led to significantly higher cement strains that may increase the risk for aseptic loosening. Changes in femoral neck length did not significantly affect cement strains under the conditions tested. Clinical Relevance - Shortening of the femoral stem currently cannot be recommended in canine total hip replacement. The existing use of variable neck lengths likely does not increase the risk of failure of the femoral stem.
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