Simulation, design and pre-clinical testing of hip prostheses

Younger patients undergoing total hip replacement procedures often expect to be able to return to the same levels of activity they had earlier in life.

The increased demand they can place on the prostheses can accelerate wear and cause the implant to fail. As a result, there is a clear need for hip joint prostheses that are able to deliver better performance and greater resistance to wear.

Advanced simulation technologies enable more accurate testing 

Our researchers have been developing advanced experimental and computer simulation methods to help meet the need for joint prostheses that deliver better performance.

Manufacturers can use our technologies to control variables in the design, pre-clinical testing and patient delivery stages to predict what influence they will have on the function and performance of an implant.

One important finding has been the effect that edge loading in a hip replacement has on its performance. This work has led to a new ISO standard being developed and this work will help to improve the prediction of hip implants’ risk of failure in patients.

We have worked closely with Simulation Solutions to develop enhanced hip joint simulation equipment and experimental methods, which they have been able to manufacture and sell in the UK, Europe and Asia.

Our industry partners, DePuy Synthes and Mathys, have also applied the advanced simulation methods we have developed to test both existing prostheses and new designs, giving them vital data for regulators and information to improve their products.

Benefits and impact 

Combining experimental simulations with enhanced dynamic computational models has enabled us, for the first time in the world, to combine biomechanical, tribological and surgical factors to predict prosthesis function in pre-clinical simulations.

We have only just scratched the surface of how the different surgical, patient and design variables in a hip joint replacement can affect performance, and the next step is to look at how combinations of these variables can affect the wear of hip prostheses.

Dr Louise Jennings, Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering


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