Research Papers

Computational Investigation of Fibrin Mechanical and Damage Properties at the Interface Between Native Cartilage and Implant

[+] Author and Article Information
Ali Vahdati, Yang Zhao, Timothy C. Ovaert

Bioengineering Graduate Program, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department,  University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556

Diane R. Wagner1

Bioengineering Graduate Program, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department,  University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556dwagner@nd.edu


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 134(11), 111004 (Oct 26, 2012) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007748 History: Received March 28, 2012; Revised September 19, 2012; Posted September 29, 2012; Published October 26, 2012; Online October 26, 2012

Scaffold-based tissue-engineered constructs as well as cell-free implants offer promising solutions to focal cartilage lesions. However, adequate mechanical stability of these implants in the lesion is required for successful repair. Fibrin is the most common clinically available adhesive for cartilage implant fixation, but fixation quality using fibrin is not well understood. The objectives of this study were to investigate the conditions leading to damage in the fibrin adhesive and to determine which adhesive properties are important in preventing delamination at the interface. An idealized finite element model of the medial compartment of the knee was created, including a circular defect and an osteochondral implant. Damage and failure of fibrin at the interface was represented by a cohesive zone model with coefficients determined from an inverse finite element method and previously published experimental data. Our results demonstrated that fibrin glue alone may not be strong enough to withstand physiologic loads in vivo while fibrin glue combined with chondrocytes more effectively prevents damage at the interface. The results of this study suggest that fibrin fails mainly in shear during off-axis loading and that adhesive materials that are stronger or more compliant than fibrin may be good alternatives due to decreased failure at the interface. The present model may be used to improve design and testing protocols of bioadhesives and give insight into the failure mechanisms of cartilage implant fixation in the knee joint.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(A) Schematic of bilinear traction-separation law and (B) model of fibrin-bonded cartilage discs in a tensile test

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Figure 2

Idealized model of the medial compartment of the knee joint with a circular defect and ICR. All dimensions are in mm.

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Figure 3

(A) Bilinear traction-separation CZM law for fibrin adhesive. Red and blue lines represent fibrin without and with cells, respectively. (B) Computational load-displacement response of cartilage-fibrin constructs in tension.

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Figure 4

Surface contact stress distribution after axial and sliding loading for (A) intact model and (B) model with ICR. Time history of (C) contact area in the intact case and (D) of damage dissipation energy in the model with the ICR.

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Figure 5

(A) Maximum shear stress distribution in the ICR when fibrin glue alone or (B) fibrin glue with chondrocytes is used as the adhesive material.

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Figure 6

Effect of changing fibrin strength and modulus on damage formation

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Figure 7

(A) Effect of increasing Δ = δfail - δinit on damage level in the adhesive, (B) damage dissipation energy at the end of loading, and (C) ratio of damaged adhesive area to total adhesive area




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