Bone and Joint Institute

Design of Anatomical Population-Based and Patient-Specific Radial Head Implants

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Hand Surgery





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



© 2017 American Society for Surgery of the Hand Purpose The objective of this study was to characterize the morphology of the radial head and design population-based anatomical and patient-specific radial head implants. Methods Computed tomography (CT) images of 50 normal cadaveric upper extremities (34 male, 16 female) were obtained using a 64-slice CT scanner. Surface models were ellipse-fitted and characterized. Using an intersurface distance mapping approach, the surface geometry of the population-based anatomical design (PB-An), 3 distinct patient-specific designs, and an existing axisymmetrical implant (Com-Axi) were compared with the native radial head and the overall surface mismatch was measured. Results Morphological analysis indicated that the diameters of the outer and rim ellipses were correlated. The mean mismatch for the existing commercially available axisymmetrical implants was 0.5 ± 0.1 mm.The PB-An implants showed significantly reduced surface mismatch (0.4 ± 0.2 mm). The PS-An implant using 82 parameters in its design (0.1 ± 0.0 mm), had the lowest mean surface mismatch of any of the implants investigated. Conclusions The mean surface mismatch of radial head implants may be reduced using reverse engineering techniques to determine the required parameters for both population-based and patient-specific implant designs. Whether there is a significant clinical advantage of a more anatomically shaped radial head implant requires additional study. More anatomical implant shapes rely on a surgical technique to accurately position these implants during surgery. It is unclear if this can be achieved clinically using conventional techniques or whether computer-assisted surgery will be required to realize the potential advantages of a more anatomical implant. Clinical relevance This study characterized the morphology of the radial head with implications for population-based anatomical implants and patient-specific implants. The overall design of each implant was quantitatively compared with the native radial head. This study has implications for the design of patient-specific/anatomical implants and compares their use with commercially available generic implants.

Find in your library