Elliptical humeral head implants have been proposed to result in more anatomic kinematics following total shoulder arthroplasty (aTSA). The purpose of this study was to compare glenohumeral contact mechanics during axial rotation using spherical and elliptical humeral head implants in the setting of aTSA. Seven fresh-frozen cadaveric shoulders were utilized for biomechanical testing in neutral (NR), internal (IR), and external (ER) rotation at various levels of abduction (0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°) with lines of pull along each of the rotator cuff muscles. Each specimen underwent the following three conditions: (1) native, and TSA using (2) an elliptical and (3) spherical humeral head implant. Glenohumeral contact mechanics, including contact pressure (CP; kPa), peak contact pressure (PCP; kPa), and contact area (CA; mm2), were measured in neutral rotation as well as external and internal rotation using a pressure mapping sensor. Elliptical head implants showed a significantly lower PCP in ER compared to spherical implants at 0° (Δ-712.0 kPa; p = 0.034), 15° (Δ-894.9 kPa; p = 0.004), 30° (Δ-897.7 kPa; p = 0.004), and 45° (Δ-796.9 kPa; p = 0.010) of abduction, while no significant difference was observed in ER at 60° of abduction or at all angles in NR and IR. Both implant designs had similar CA in NR, ER, and IR at all tested angles of abduction (p > 0.05, respectively). In the setting of aTSA, elliptical heads showed significantly lower PCP during ER at 0° to 45° of abduction, when compared to spherical head implants. However, in NR and IR, PCP was similar between implant designs. Both designs showed similar CA during NR, ER, and IR at all abduction angles. basic science; controlled laboratory study.

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