Average and peak contact stress distribution evaluation of total knee arthroplasties

John A. Szivek, Philip L. Anderson, James B. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Seven total knee arthroplasty systems were tested to determine contact stress patterns and contact areas using a calibrated Fuji film stress analysis technique. Knees were loaded to 2,000 N (204 kg) at 15°, 60°, 90°, and 135° flexion at 24 and 37°C. Evaluation of stresses at 37°C at 15° and 60° using an average contact stress assessment technique indicated that the LCS meniscal bearing knee system, (DePuy, Warsaw, IN), the AMK knee with a constrained insert (DePuy), and the PFC knee with a posterior-lipped insert (Johnson and Johnson, Raynham, MA) had the lowest average contact stresses (near or below 10 MPa). The PFC with a regular insert (Johnson and Johnson), the Ortholoc II (Dow Corning Wright, Arlington, TN), and the AMK with a regular insert (DePuy) had intermediate contact stresses. The AMK with a Hylamer-M insert (DePuy) and the MG II (Zimmer, Warsaw, IN) had the highest average contact stress (near or above 20 MPa). A stress-calibrated Fuji film measurement technique has shown that an assessment of ranges of contact stress provides much more information about regions of expected wear than an assessment of average contact stresses. Testing of the tibiofemoral articulation of artificial knees revealed that all knees had some areas of contact with maximum stresses in excess of 15 MPa. As the yield strength of ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene is approximately 15 MPa, all tibial inserts could wear to some extent. Peak contact stresses at four test angles of the AMK, Series 7000 (Osteonics, Allendale, NJ:) Genesis (Smith and Nephew Orthopaedics, Memphis, TN), and MG II patellofemoral articulations were high (above 30 MPa). Contact areas varied from line-shaped to bilateral circular or elliptical shapes. The LCS knee system experienced substantially lower patellofemoral contact stresses and larger contact areas. Changes in conformity of knee designs are warranted to overcome wear problems. Peak contact stresses measured from the LCS meniscal bearing tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joint were in excess of 30 MPa in some areas at low flexion angles. This design does create large areas of contact at very low contact pressures, however, and for this reason is expected to wear less than other designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-963
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996


  • Fuji film
  • artificial knee
  • contact geometry
  • patellofemoral contact stress
  • tibiofemoral contact stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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