IntroductionElliptical-shaped humeral head prostheses have recently been proposed to reflect a more anatomic shoulder replacement. However, its subsequent effect on micro-motion of the glenoid component is still not understood.Materials and methodsSix fresh-frozen, cadaveric shoulders (mean age: 62.7 ± 9.2 years) were used for the study. Each specimen underwent total shoulder arthroplasty using an anatomic stemless implant. At 15°, 30°, 45° and 60° of glenohumeral abduction, 50° of internal and external rotations in the axial plane were alternatingly applied to the humerus with both an elliptical and spherical humeral head design. Glenohumeral translation was assessed by means of a 3-dimensional digitizer. Micro-motion of the glenoid component was evaluated using four high-resolution differential variable reluctance transducer strain gauges, placed at the anterior, posterior, superior, and inferior aspect of the glenoid component.ResultsThe elliptical head design showed significantly more micro-motion in total and at the superior aspect of glenoid component during external rotation at 15° (total: P = 0.004; superior: P = 0.004) and 30° (total: P = 0.045; superior: P = 0.033) of abduction when compared to the spherical design. However, during internal rotation, elliptical and spherical heads showed similar amounts of micro-motion at the glenoid component at all tested abduction angles. When looking at glenohumeral translation, elliptical and spherical heads showed similar anteroposterior and superoinferior translation as well as compound motion during external rotation at all tested abduction angles. During internal rotation, the elliptical design resulted in significantly more anteroposterior translation and compound motion at all abduction angles when compared to the spherical design (P < 0.05).ConclusionIn the setting of total shoulder arthroplasty, the elliptical head design demonstrated greater glenohumeral translation and micro-motion at the glenoid component during axial rotation when compared to the spherical design, potentially increasing the risk for glenoid loosening in the long term.Level of evidenceControlled Laboratory Study

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