The role of the design of tibial components and stems in knee replacement

C. E. H. Scott, L. C. Biant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stems improve the mechanical stability of tibial components in total knee replacement (TKR), but come at a cost of stress shielding along their length. Their advantages include resistance to shear, reduced tibial lift-off and increased stability by reducing micromotion. Longer stems may have disadvantages including stress shielding along the length of the stem with associated reduction in bone density and a theoretical risk of subsidence and loosening, peri-prosthetic fracture and end-of-stem pain. These features make long stems unattractive in the primary TKR setting, but often desirable in revision surgery with bone loss and instability. In the revision scenario, stems are beneficial in order to convey structural stability to the construct and protect the reconstruction of bony defects. Cemented and uncemented long stemmed implants have different roles depending on the nature of the bone loss involved. This review discusses the biomechanics of the design of tibial components and stems to inform the selection of the component and the technique of implantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-15
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of bone and joint surgery. British volume
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee/instrumentation
  • Cementation
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Reoperation/instrumentation
  • Tibia/surgery


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