Micromotion of plasma spray versus grit-blasted radial head prosthetic stem surfaces

Cholawish Chanlalit, James S. Fitzsimmons, Dave R. Shukla, Kai Nan An, Shawn W. O'Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Initial stability of a textured surface prosthetic stem is necessary for bone in-growth. Surfaces currently used for radial head prostheses include titanium plasma spray and grit-blasted titanium. Hypothesis: Plasma spray radial head prosthetic stems are less dependent than grit-blasted stems on a tight press fit. Good initial press-fit stability, with acceptable micro-motion, can be achieved with a greater range of stem sizes using a plasma spray than grit-blasted surface. Methods: Paired cadaveric radii were implanted with plasma spray or grit-blasted radial head prosthetic stems. Micromotion at the stem tip was measured under circumstances simulating eccentric loads. Results: Micromotion in the plasma spray (PS) stems (49 ± 37) μm was not better than that in the grit-blasted (GB) stems (28 ± 10) μm (P = .13). Micromotion of less than 100 μm was measured in all 12 GB stems that were maximum or 1 mm less than maximum size, versus 5/6, and 4/6 PS stems, respectively. Discussion: Micromotion in plasma spray prosthetic radial head stems was not better than that seen in grit-blasted stems, contrary to our initial hypothesis. Conclusion: Grit-blasted prosthetic radial head stems confer initial press-fit stability that is as good as, or slightly better than, corresponding plasma spray stems. Acceptable amounts of micromotion can be achieved with 2 grit-blasted stem sizes and probably with 2 plasma spray stem sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-722
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Basic Science
  • Biomechanical Laboratory Study
  • Elbow stability
  • Fracture
  • Grit blast stem
  • Radial head prosthesis
  • Titanium plasma spray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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