Finite Element Simulations of Biphasic Articular Cartilages with Localized Metal Implants

Respondent Huvudhandledare Bihandledare Datum
Krishnagoud Manda Anders Eriksson 2010-12-16

Ingrid Svensson, Dept. of Solid Mechanics, Lund University



Articular cartilage is a specialized connective soft tissue that resides onthe ends of long-bones, transfers the load smoothly between the bones in diarthrodialjoints by providing almost frictionless, wear resistant sliding surfacesduring joint articulation. Focal chondral or osteochondral defects in articularcartilage are common and show limited capacity for biological repair. Furthermore,changes in the bio-mechanical forces at the defect site may makethe tissue more susceptible to continued degeneration. Alternatively, the contouredfocal resurfacing metal implant can be used to treat such full thicknesscartilage defects. Physiological and biomechanical studies on animal modelswith metal implant have shown good clinical outcomes. However, the mechanicalbehavior of cartilage surrounding the implant is not clearly known withrespect to the joint function after treating such defects with metal implantsand also to improve the implant design. We developed a simple 3-dimensionalfinite element model by approximating one of the condyles of the sheep kneejoint. Parametric study was conducted in the simulations to verify differentprofiles for the implant, positioning of the implant with respect to cartilagesurface, defect size and to show the mechanical sealing effect due to the wedgeshape of the implant. We found the maximal deformations, contact pressuresand stresses which constitute the mechanical behavior of cartilages. We alsoconfirmed that using a metal implant to fill the full thickness chondral defectsis more beneficial than to leave the defect untreated from mechanical point ofview. The implant should be positioned slightly sunk into the cartilage basedon the defect size, in order to avoid damage to the opposing surface. The largerthe defect size, the closer the implant should be to the flush. We also simulatedthe time dependent behavior of the cartilages. In all the simulations, a staticaxial loading was considered. The wedge shape of the implant provided themechanical sealing of the cartilage surrounding the implant. The determineddeformations in the cartilages immediately surrounding the implant are instrumentalin predicting the sticking-up of the implant into the joint cavity whichmay damage opposing soft tissues.
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