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Research Papers

Importance of Material Properties and Porosity of Bone on Mechanical Response of Articular Cartilage in Human Knee Joint—A Two-Dimensional Finite Element Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Mikko S. Venäläinen

Department of Applied Physics,
University of Eastern Finland,
POB 1627,
Kuopio FI-70211, Finland
e-mail: mikko.s.venalainen@uef.fi

Mika E. Mononen, Jukka S. Jurvelin, Rami K. Korhonen

Department of Applied Physics,
University of Eastern Finland,
POB 1627,
Kuopio FI-70211, Finland

Juha Töyräs

Department of Applied Physics,
University of Eastern Finland,
POB 1627,
Kuopio FI-70211, Finland
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology,
Kuopio University Hospital,
POB 100,
Kuopio FI-70029, Finland

Tuomas Virén

Cancer Center,
Kuopio University Hospital,
POB 100,
Kuopio FI-70029, Finland

Manuscript received June 10, 2014; final manuscript received September 30, 2014; accepted manuscript posted October 15, 2014; published online October 28, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Sean S. Kohles.

J Biomech Eng 136(12), 121005 (Oct 28, 2014) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-14-1255; doi: 10.1115/1.4028801 History: Received June 10, 2014; Revised September 30, 2014; Accepted October 15, 2014

Mechanical behavior of bone is determined by the structure and intrinsic, local material properties of the tissue. However, previously presented knee joint models for evaluation of stresses and strains in joints generally consider bones as rigid bodies or linearly elastic solid materials. The aim of this study was to estimate how different structural and mechanical properties of bone affect the mechanical response of articular cartilage within a knee joint. Based on a cadaver knee joint, a two-dimensional (2D) finite element (FE) model of a knee joint including bone, cartilage, and meniscus geometries was constructed. Six different computational models with varying properties for cortical, trabecular, and subchondral bone were created, while the biphasic fibril-reinforced properties of cartilage and menisci were kept unaltered. The simplest model included rigid bones, while the most complex model included specific mechanical properties for different bone structures and anatomically accurate trabecular structure. Models with different porosities of trabecular bone were also constructed. All models were exposed to axial loading of 1.9 times body weight within 0.2 s (mimicking typical maximum knee joint forces during gait) while free varus–valgus rotation was allowed and all other rotations and translations were fixed. As compared to results obtained with the rigid bone model, stresses, strains, and pore pressures observed in cartilage decreased depending on the implemented properties of trabecular bone. Greatest changes in these parameters (up to −51% in maximum principal stresses) were observed when the lowest modulus for trabecular bone (measured at the structural level) was used. By increasing the trabecular bone porosity, stresses and strains were reduced substantially in the lateral tibial cartilage, while they remained relatively constant in the medial tibial plateau. The present results highlight the importance of long bones, in particular, their mechanical properties and porosity, in altering and redistributing forces transmitted through the knee joint.

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Fig. 1

(a) Lining up femur and tibia prior to cutting. (b) Gray-scale image of the knee after cutting it in a coronal plane. (c) Bone structures segmented from the image (C = cortical, T = trabecular, S = subchondral). (d) Model geometry including trabecular structure accompanied with applied boundary conditions (distal nodes of tibia fixed), constraints (reference point, RP, coupled with the surface of proximal femur marked with red solid line) and loads (arrow) used in FE simulations. (e)–(f) Close-up images of the areas marked with green squares in (b) and (d). The FE mesh is seen in (f).

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Fig. 2

(a) Close-up images of the FE meshes in the joint area (see Fig. 1(d)). Primary collagen fibril orientations in (b) articular cartilage and (c) menisci. Crosses in (c) indicate circumferentially oriented fibrils.

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Fig. 3

(a) Maximum principal stress, (b) pore pressure, (c) fibril strain, and (d) maximum principal strain distributions for the model with rigid bones (model I) and the differences between the model I and the other models

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Fig. 4

(a) Maximum principal stress distributions for models with different porosities. (b) Maximum principal stresses, (c) pore pressures, (d) fibril strains and (e) maximum principal strains averaged over the contact area on the lateral and medial tibial plateau as a function of trabecular bone porosity. All estimated parameters in the lateral tibial plateau decreased noticeably while in the medial tibial plateau they remained relatively unaltered for all implemented porosities.

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