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Wrist at risk? - Considerations derived from a novel experimental setup to assess torques during hip reaming with potential implications on the orthopedic surgeons’ health

: Lorenz, M.; Pelliccia, L.; Werner, M.; Scholze, M.; Klimant, P.; Heyde, C.-E.; Klima, S.; Hammer, N.


Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials 113 (2021), Art. 104160, 9 S.
ISSN: 1751-6161
ISSN: 1878-0180
Fraunhofer IWU ()

Orthopedic surgeons endure high physical stresses when performing surgery, as large forces and torques are applied commonly. Occupational risks are consequently higher when compared to other surgical disciplines. One example is the reaming of the acetabula during total hip arthroplasty, using customized instruments. This surgery may predispose the surgeon to overuse-related wrist pathology. In this study, torques acting along the reaming tool were measured, and the resulting forces applied to the orthopedic surgeons' wrists were estimated based on the measured torque data from hip reaming. Different reamer sizes and tool velocities were analyzed to determine how both parameters may influence the torques applied at the surgeon's wrist. Using a highly standardized setup, torques were measured while the reamer was pushed into the acetabula to remove cartilage. Maximum torques and stoppage torques at blocking of the reamer were compared between feed rates and reamer sizes. Peak values of the maximum torques along the reamer axis averaged 1.5–1.8 Nm. No significant difference between maximum torques and reamer sizes was found. A significant difference in maximum torques was noted between feed rates with a large effect (p = 0.010; η2 = 0.214) and a large interaction effect (p = 0.017; η2 = 0.186). Based on this experimental setup, it can be hypothesized that the impulsive behavior of the torque when the milling tool reaches the subchondral lamella could potentially contribute to wrist pathology. These preliminary data warrant further study. Consequently, torque limiters should be implemented in reamers to minimize the risk of occupation-related pathology to the wrist.