Research Papers

J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021001-021001-7. doi:10.1115/1.2898734.

Loss in dynamic stability of the low back has been identified as a potential factor in the etiology of low back injuries. A number of factors are important in the ability of a person to maintain an upright trunk posture including the preparatory stiffness of the trunk and the magnitude and timing of the neuromotor response. A neuromotor response requires appropriate sensing of joint motion. In this research, the role of this sensory ability in dynamic performance of the trunk was examined using a simple pendulum model of the trunk with neuromotor feedback. An increased sensory threshold was found to lead to increased torso flexion and increased delay in neuromotor response. This was confirmed experimentally using paraspinal muscle vibration which is known to alter proprioception of the muscle spindle organs. Before, during and after exposure to bilateral, paraspinal muscle vibration for 20minutes, the dynamic response of subjects to an unexpected torso flexion load was examined. Subjects were found to have a 19.5% slower time to peak muscle activity and a 16.1% greater torso flexion during exposure to paraspinal muscle vibration. Torso flexion remained significantly increased after vibration exposure relative to before exposure. These results suggest that the neuromotor response plays an important role in trunk dynamics. Loss in sensitivity of the sensory system can have a detrimental effect on trunk dynamics, increasing delays in neuromotor response and increasing the motion of the trunk in response to an unexpected load.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021002-021002-9. doi:10.1115/1.2898715.

Polyethylene wear after total hip arthroplasty may occur as a result of normal gait and as a result of subluxation and relocation with impact. Relocation of a subluxed hip may impart a moment to the cup creating sliding as well as compression at the cup liner interface. The purpose of the current study is to quantify, by a validated finite element model, the forces generated in a hip arthroplasty as a result of subluxation relocation and compare them to the forces generated during normal gait. The micromotion between the liner and acetabular shell was quantified by computing the sliding track and the deformation at several points of the interface. A finite element analysis of polyethylene liner stress and liner/cup micromotion in total hip arthroplasty was performed under two dynamic profiles. The first profile was a gait loading profile simulating the force vectors developed in the hip arthroplasty during normal gait. The second profile is generated during subluxation and subsequent relocation of the femoral head. The forces generated by subluxation relocation of a total hip arthroplasty can exceed those forces generated during normal gait. The induced micromotion at the cup polyethylene interface as a result of subluxation can exceed micromotion as a result of the normal gait cycle. This may play a significant role in the generation of backsided wear. Minimizing joint subluxation by restoring balance to the hip joint after arthroplasty should be explored as a strategy to minimize backsided wear.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021003-021003-11. doi:10.1115/1.2898725.

The collagen network and proteoglycan matrix of articular cartilage are thought to play an important role in controlling the stresses and strains in and around chondrocytes, in regulating the biosynthesis of the solid matrix, and consequently in maintaining the health of diarthrodial joints. Understanding the detailed effects of the mechanical environment of chondrocytes on cell behavior is therefore essential for the study of the development, adaptation, and degeneration of articular cartilage. Recent progress in macroscopic models has improved our understanding of depth-dependent properties of cartilage. However, none of the previous works considered the effect of realistic collagen orientation or depth-dependent negative charges in microscopic models of chondrocyte mechanics. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the collagen network and fixed charge densities of cartilage on the mechanical environment of the chondrocytes in a depth-dependent manner. We developed an anisotropic, inhomogeneous, microstructural fibril-reinforced finite element model of articular cartilage for application in unconfined compression. The model consisted of the extracellular matrix and chondrocytes located in the superficial, middle, and deep zones. Chondrocytes were surrounded by a pericellular matrix and were assumed spherical prior to tissue swelling and load application. Material properties of the chondrocytes, pericellular matrix, and extracellular matrix were obtained from the literature. The loading protocol included a free swelling step followed by a stress-relaxation step. Results from traditional isotropic and transversely isotropic biphasic models were used for comparison with predictions from the current model. In the superficial zone, cell shapes changed from rounded to elliptic after free swelling. The stresses and strains as well as fluid flow in cells were greatly affected by the modulus of the collagen network. The fixed charge density of the chondrocytes, pericellular matrix, and extracellular matrix primarily affected the aspect ratios (height/width) and the solid matrix stresses of cells. The mechanical responses of the cells were strongly location and time dependent. The current model highlights that the collagen orientation and the depth-dependent negative fixed charge densities of articular cartilage have a great effect in modulating the mechanical environment in the vicinity of chondrocytes, and it provides an important improvement over earlier models in describing the possible pathways from loading of articular cartilage to the mechanical and biological responses of chondrocytes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021004-021004-6. doi:10.1115/1.2898833.

Computational modeling of the flow in cerebral aneurysms is an evolving technique that may play an important role in surgical planning. In this study, we simulated the flow in a giant basilar aneurysm before and after surgical takedown of one vertebral artery. Patient-specific geometry and flowrates obtained from magnetic resonance (MR) angiography and velocimetry were used to simulate the flow prior to and after the surgery. Numerical solutions for steady and pulsatile flows were obtained. Highly three-dimensional flows, with strong secondary flows, were computed in the aneurysm in the presurgical and postsurgical conditions. The computational results predicted that occlusion of a vertebral artery would result in a significant increase of the slow flow region formed in the bulge of the aneurysm, where increased particle residence time and velocities lower than 2.5cms were computed. The region of slow flow was found to have filled with thrombus following surgery. Predictions of numerical simulation methods are consistent with the observed outcome following surgical treatment of an aneurysm. The study demonstrates that computational models may provide hypotheses to test in future studies, and might offer guidance for the interventional treatment of cerebral aneurysms.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021005-021005-8. doi:10.1115/1.2899574.

The objective of this research is to analyze and model the decreases in skin temperature when the hand makes contact with an object at room temperature so that thermal feedback can be incorporated into haptic displays. A thermal model is proposed that predicts the thermal responses of the skin and object surface as well as the heat flux exchanged during hand-object interactions. The model was evaluated by comparing the theoretical predictions of temperature changes to those experimentally measured using an infrared thermal measurement system. The thermal measurement system was designed to overcome the limitations imposed by contact thermal sensors, and was able to measure skin temperature during contact, together with the contact area and contact force. The experimental results indicated that over the pressure range of 0.7310.98kPa, changes in skin temperature were well localized to the contact area and were affected by contact pressure. The pressure in turn influenced both thermal contact resistance and blood flow. Over the range of contact forces typically used in manual exploration, blood perfusion and metabolic heat generation do not appear to have a significant effect on the skin’s thermal responses. The theoretical predictions and the measured data were consistent in characterizing the time course and amplitude of the skin temperature change during contact with differences typically being less than 1°C between the two for pressures greater than 4kPa. These findings indicate that the proposed thermal model is able to characterize and predict the skin temperature responses during hand-object interactions and could be used in a thermal display that simulates the properties of different materials.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021006-021006-7. doi:10.1115/1.2898716.

As part of an ongoing effort to study the continuum mechanics effects associated with cryopreservation, the current report focuses on the prediction of fracture formation in cryoprotective agents. Fractures had been previously observed in 1ml samples of the cryoprotective agent cocktail DP6, contained in a standard 15ml glass vial, and subjected to various cooling rates. These experimental observations were obtained by means of a cryomacroscope, which has been recently presented by the current research team. High and low cooling rates were found to produce very distinct patterns of cracking. The current study seeks to explain the observed patterns on the basis of stresses predicted from finite element analysis, which relies on a simple viscoelastic constitutive model and on estimates of the critical stress for cracking. The current study demonstrates that the stress, which results in instantaneous fracture at low cooling rates, is consistent with the stress to initiate fracture at high cooling rate. This consistency supports the credibility of the proposed constitutive model and analysis, and the unified criterion for fracturing, that is, a critical stress threshold.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021007-021007-12. doi:10.1115/1.2898733.

Aortic dissection occurs frequently and is clinically challenging; the underlying mechanics remain unclear. The present study investigates the dissection properties of the media of 15 human abdominal aortas (AAs) by means of direct tension tests (n=8) and peeling tests (n=12). The direct tension test demonstrates the strength of the media in the radial direction, while the peeling test allows a steady-state investigation of the dissection propagation. To explore the development of irreversible microscopic changes during medial dissection, histological images (n=8) from four AAs at different peeling stages are prepared and analyzed. Direct tension tests of coin-shaped medial specimens result in a radial failure stress of 140.1±15.9kPa (mean±SD, n=8). Peeling tests of rectangular-shaped medial strips along the circumferential and axial directions provide peeling force∕width ratios of 22.9±2.9mNmm(n=5) and 34.8±15.5mNmm(n=7); the related dissection energies per reference area are 5.1±0.6mJcm2 and 7.6±2.7mJcm2, respectively. Although student’s t-tests indicate that force∕width values of both experimental tests are not significantly different (α=0.05, p=0.125), the strikingly higher resisting force∕width obtained for the axial peeling tests is perhaps indicative of anisotropic dissection properties of the human aortic media. Peeling in the axial direction of the aorta generates a remarkably “rougher” dissection surface with respect to the surface generated by peeling in the circumferential direction. Histological analysis of the stressed specimens reveals that tissue damage spreads over approximately six to seven elastic laminae, which is about 15–18% of the thickness of the abdominal aortic media, which forms a pronounced cohesive zone at the dissection front.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021008-021008-7. doi:10.1115/1.2898761.

Large interfacial gaps between the stem and the bone in cementless total hip arthroplasty may prevent successful bone ingrowth at the sites, and can also be a passage for wear particles. Furthermore, interfacial gaps between the stem and the bone are believed to compromise the primary stability of the implant. Thus, a broaching method that serves to reduce gaps is expected to give clinically preferable results. A modified broach system with a canal guide is introduced to enhance the accuracy of femoral canal shaping in comparison with the conventional broach system for a Versys fibermetal taper stem. The primary stability of the hip systems and the ratios of the stem surface in contact with the femur were measured in a composite femur model. With the conventional method, an average of 67% of the stem surface was shown to be in contact with the bone, and an average stem micromotion/migration of 35μm290μm was observed under 1000cycles of stair climbing loads. With the modified method, the stem-bone contact ratio significantly increased to 82% (p<0.05), and the average micromotion/migration reduced to 29μm49μm, respectively (p<0.05 for migration). Our finite element models of the hip systems supported that the difference in micromotion could be attributed to the difference in interfacial contact. Interfacial gaps occurring with the conventional broach system were effectively reduced by the proposed method, resulting in improved primary stability.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021009-021009-9. doi:10.1115/1.2898831.

Contact forces and moments act on orthopaedic implants such as joint replacements. The three forces and three moment components can be measured by six internal strain gauges and wireless telemetric data transmission. The accuracy of instrumented implants is restricted by their small size, varying modes of load transfer, and the accuracy of calibration. Aims of this study were to test with finite element studies design features to improve the accuracy, to develop simple but accurate calibration arrangements, and to select the best mathematical method for calculating the calibration constants. Several instrumented implants, and commercial and test transducers were calibrated using different loading setups and mathematical methods. It was found that the arrangement of flexible elements such as bellows or notches between the areas of load transfer and the central sensor locations is most effective to improve the accuracy. Increasing the rigidity of the implant areas, which are fixed in bones or articulate against joint surfaces, is less effective. Simple but accurate calibration of the six force and moment components can be achieved by applying eccentric forces instead of central forces and pure moments. Three different methods for calculating the measuring constants proved to be equally well suited. Employing these improvements makes it possible to keep the average measuring errors of many instrumented implants below 1–2% of the calibration ranges, including cross talk. Additional errors caused by noise of the transmitted signals can be reduced by filtering if this is permitted by the sampling rate and the required frequency content of the loads.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021010-021010-7. doi:10.1115/1.2899571.

Transport of bioactive agents through the blood is essential for cardiovascular regulatory processes and drug delivery. Bioactive agents and other solutes infused into the blood through the wall of a blood vessel or released into the blood from an area in the vessel wall spread downstream of the infusion/release region and form a thin boundary layer in which solute concentration is higher than in the rest of the blood. Bioactive agents distributed along the vessel wall affect endothelial cells and regulate biological processes, such as thrombus formation, atherogenesis, and vascular remodeling. To calculate the concentration of solutes in the boundary layer, researchers have generally used numerical simulations. However, to investigate the effect of blood flow, infusion rate, and vessel geometry on the concentration of different solutes, many simulations are needed, leading to a time-consuming effort. In this paper, a relatively simple formula to quantify concentrations in a tube downstream of an infusion/release region is presented. Given known blood-flow rates, tube radius, solute diffusivity, and the length of the infusion region, this formula can be used to quickly estimate solute concentrations when infusion rates are known or to estimate infusion rates when solute concentrations at a point downstream of the infusion region are known. The developed formula is based on boundary layer theory and physical principles. The formula is an approximate solution of the advection-diffusion equations in the boundary layer region when solute concentration is small (dilute solution), infusion rate is modeled as a mass flux, and there is no transport of solute through the wall or chemical reactions downstream of the infusion region. Wall concentrations calculated using the formula developed in this paper were compared to the results from finite element models. Agreement between the results was within 10%. The developed formula could be used in experimental procedures to evaluate drug efficacy, in the design of drug-eluting stents, and to calculate rates of release of bioactive substances at active surfaces using downstream concentration measurements. In addition to being simple and fast to use, the formula gives accurate quantifications of concentrations and infusion rates under steady-state and oscillatory flow conditions, and therefore can be used to estimate boundary layer concentrations under physiological conditions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021011-021011-8. doi:10.1115/1.2898732.

Connective tissues are biological composites comprising of collagen fibrils embedded in (and reinforcing) the hydrated proteoglycan-rich (PG) gel within the extracellular matrices (ECMs). Age-related changes to the mechanical properties of tissues are often associated with changes to the structure of the ECM, namely, fibril diameter. However, quantitative attempts to correlate fibril diameter to mechanical properties have yielded inconclusive evidence. Here, we described a novel approach that was based on the rule of mixtures for fiber composites to evaluate the dependence of age-related changes in tendon tensile strength (σ) and stiffness (E) on the collagen fibril cross-sectional area fraction (ρ), which is related to the fibril volume fraction. Tail tendons from C57BL6 mice from age groups 1.635.3months old were stretched to failure to determine σ and E. Parallel measurements of ρ as a function of age were made using transmission electron microscopy. Mathematical models (rule of mixtures) of fibrils reinforcing a PG gel in tendons were used to investigate the influence of ρ on ageing changes in σ and E. The magnitudes of σ, E, and ρ increased rapidly from 1.6monthsto4.0months (P-values <0.05) before reaching a constant (age independent) from 4.0monthsto29.0months (P-values >0.05); this trend continued for E and ρ (P-values >0.05) from 29.0monthsto35.3months, but not for σ, which decreased gradually (P-values <0.05). Linear regression analysis revealed that age-related changes in σ and E correlated positively to ρ (P-values <0.05). Collagen fibril cross-sectional area fraction ρ is a significant predictor of ageing changes in σ and E in the tail tendons of C57BL6 mice.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021012-021012-6. doi:10.1115/1.2899573.

The Phan-Thien and Tanner (PTT) model is one of the most widely used rheological models. It can properly describe the common characteristics of viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluids. There is evidence that synovial fluid in human joints, which also lubricates artificial joints, is viscoelastic. Modeling the geometry of the total hip replacement, the PTT model is applied in spherical coordinates for a thin confined fluid film. A modified Reynolds equation is developed for this geometry. Several simplified illustrative problems are solved. The effect of the edge boundary condition on load-carrying normal stress is discussed. Solutions are also obtained for a simple squeezing flow. The effect of both the relaxation time and the PTT shear parameter is to reduce the load relative to a Newtonian fluid with the same viscosity. This implies that the Newtonian model is not conservative and may overpredict the load capacity. The PTT theory is a good candidate model to use for joint replacement lubrication. It is well regarded and derivable from molecular considerations. The most important non-Newtonian characteristics can be described with only three primary material parameters.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021013-021013-11. doi:10.1115/1.2899575.

In this study, the magnetic resonance (MR) elastography technique was used to estimate the dynamic shear modulus of mouse brain tissue in vivo. The technique allows visualization and measurement of mechanical shear waves excited by lateral vibration of the skull. Quantitative measurements of displacement in three dimensions during vibration at 1200Hz were obtained by applying oscillatory magnetic field gradients at the same frequency during a MR imaging sequence. Contrast in the resulting phase images of the mouse brain is proportional to displacement. To obtain estimates of shear modulus, measured displacement fields were fitted to the shear wave equation. Validation of the procedure was performed on gel characterized by independent rheometry tests and on data from finite element simulations. Brain tissue is, in reality, viscoelastic and nonlinear. The current estimates of dynamic shear modulus are strictly relevant only to small oscillations at a specific frequency, but these estimates may be obtained at high frequencies (and thus high deformation rates), noninvasively throughout the brain. These data complement measurements of nonlinear viscoelastic properties obtained by others at slower rates, either ex vivo or invasively.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021014-021014-7. doi:10.1115/1.2898713.

Understanding the differences in knee kinematic descriptions is important for comparing data from different laboratories and observing small but important changes within a set of knees. The purpose of this study was to identify how differences in fixed body femoral coordinate systems affect the described tibiofemoral and patellofemoral kinematics for cadaveric knee studies with no hip present. Different methods for describing kinematics were evaluated on a set of seven cadaveric knees during walking in a dynamic knee simulator. Three anatomical landmark coordinate systems, a partial helical axis, and an experimental setup-based system were examined. The results showed that flexion-extension was insensitive to differences in the kinematic systems tested, internal-external rotation was similar for most femoral coordinate systems although there were changes in absolute position, varus-valgus was the most sensitive to variations in flexion axis direction, and anterior-posterior motion was most sensitive to femoral origin location. Femoral coordinate systems that define the sagittal plane using anatomical landmarks and locate the flexion axis perpendicular to the femur’s mechanical axis in the frontal plane were typically similar and described kinematics most consistently.

Topics: Kinematics , Motion , Knee , Rotation
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021015-021015-9. doi:10.1115/1.2900724.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of nominally patient-specific cerebral aneurysms is increasingly being used as a research tool to further understand the development, prognosis, and treatment of brain aneurysms. We have previously developed virtual angiography to indirectly validate CFD-predicted gross flow dynamics against the routinely acquired digital subtraction angiograms. Toward a more direct validation, here we compare detailed, CFD-predicted velocity fields against those measured using particle imaging velocimetry (PIV). Two anatomically realistic flow-through phantoms, one a giant internal carotid artery (ICA) aneurysm and the other a basilar artery (BA) tip aneurysm, were constructed of a clear silicone elastomer. The phantoms were placed within a computer-controlled flow loop, programed with representative flow rate waveforms. PIV images were collected on several anterior-posterior (AP) and lateral (LAT) planes. CFD simulations were then carried out using a well-validated, in-house solver, based on micro-CT reconstructions of the geometries of the flow-through phantoms and inlet/outlet boundary conditions derived from flow rates measured during the PIV experiments. PIV and CFD results from the central AP plane of the ICA aneurysm showed a large stable vortex throughout the cardiac cycle. Complex vortex dynamics, captured by PIV and CFD, persisted throughout the cardiac cycle on the central LAT plane. Velocity vector fields showed good overall agreement. For the BA, aneurysm agreement was more compelling, with both PIV and CFD similarly resolving the dynamics of counter-rotating vortices on both AP and LAT planes. Despite the imposition of periodic flow boundary conditions for the CFD simulations, cycle-to-cycle fluctuations were evident in the BA aneurysm simulations, which agreed well, in terms of both amplitudes and spatial distributions, with cycle-to-cycle fluctuations measured by PIV in the same geometry. The overall good agreement between PIV and CFD suggests that CFD can reliably predict the details of the intra-aneurysmal flow dynamics observed in anatomically realistic in vitro models. Nevertheless, given the various modeling assumptions, this does not prove that they are mimicking the actual in vivo hemodynamics, and so validations against in vivo data are encouraged whenever possible.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021016-021016-6. doi:10.1115/1.2903429.

Experimental work over the past decade has shown that recirculation in alveoli substantially increases the transport of particles. We have previously shown that, for nondiffusing passive particles, this can be understood with the aid of Moffatt’s famous corner flow model. Without wall motion, passive particles recirculate in a regular fashion and no chaos exists; however, wall motion produces extensive chaotic flow. Aerosols typically do not follow this flow as they are fundamentally different from fluid particles. Here, we construct a simple model to study diffusing particles in the presence of recirculation. We assume that all particles are passive, that is to say that they do not significantly alter the underlying flow. In particular, we consider particles with high Péclet number and neglect inertial effects. We modify the Lagrangian system for corner eddies to accommodate diffusing particles. Particle transport is governed by Langevin equations. Ensembles of diffusing particles are tracked by numerical integration. We show that transport of diffusing particles is enhanced by sufficiently strong underlying recirculation through a mechanism that we call the “carousel effect.” However, as the corner is approached, the recirculation rapidly decreases in intensity, favoring motion by diffusion. Far from the corner’s apex, recirculation dominates. For real alveoli, the model indicates that sufficiently strong recirculation can enhance transport of diffusing particles through the carousel effect.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021017-021017-8. doi:10.1115/1.2903432.

The present work deals with the application of an innovative in-house developed wavelet-based methodology for the analysis of the acceleration responses of a human head complex model as a simulated diffused oedema progresses. The human head complex has been modeled as a structure consisting of three confocal prolate spheroids, whereas the three defined regions by the system of spheroids, from the outside to the inside, represent the scull, the region of cerebrospinal fluid, and the brain tissue. A Dirac-like pulse has been used to excite the human head complex model and the acceleration response of the system has been calculated and analyzed via the wavelet-based methodology. For the purpose of the present analysis, a wave propagation commercial finite element code, LS-DYNA 3D , has been used. The progressive diffused oedema was modeled via consecutive increases in brain volume accompanied by a decrease in brain density. It was shown that even a small increase in brain volume (at the level of 0.5%) can be identified by the effect it has on the vibration characteristics of the human head complex. More precisely, it was found that for some of the wavelet decomposition levels, the energy content changes monotonically as the brain volume increases, thus providing a useful index of monitoring an oncoming brain oedema before any brain damage appears due to uncontrolled intracranial hypertension. For the purpose of the present work and for the levels of brain volume increase considered in the present analysis, no pressure increase was assumed into the cranial vault and, associatively, no brain compliance variation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021018-021018-7. doi:10.1115/1.2904467.

Stents are small tubelike structures, implanted in coronary and peripheral arteries to reopen narrowed vessel sections. This endovascular intervention remains suboptimal, as the success rate is limited by restenosis. This renarrowing of a stented vessel is related to the arterial injury caused by stent-artery and balloon-artery interactions, and a local subsequent inflammatory process. Therefore, efforts to optimize the stent deployment remain very meaningful. Several authors have studied with finite element modeling the mechanical behavior of balloon-expandable stents, but none of the proposed models incorporates the folding pattern of the balloon. We developed a numerical model in which the CYPHER™ stent is combined with a realistic trifolded balloon. In this paper, the impact of several parameters such as balloon length, folding pattern, and relative position of the stent with respect to the balloon catheter on the free stent expansion has been investigated. Quantitative validation of the modeling strategy shows excellent agreement with data provided by the manufacturer and, therefore, the model serves as a solid basis for further investigations. The parametric analyses showed that both the balloon length and the folding pattern have a considerable influence on the uniformity and symmetry of the transient stent expansion. Consequently, this approach can be used to select the most appropriate balloon length and folding pattern for a particular stent design in order to optimize the stent deployment. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that small positioning inaccuracies may change the expansion behavior of a stent. Therefore, the placement of the stent on the balloon catheter should be accurately carried out, again in order to decrease the endothelial damage.

Topics: stents , Catheters
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021019-021019-9. doi:10.1115/1.2904466.

Although hip simulators for in vitro wear testing of prosthetic materials used in total hip arthroplasty (THA) have been available for a number of years, similar equipment has yet to appear for endurance testing of fixation in cemented THA, despite considerable evidence of late aseptic loosening as one of the most significant failure mechanisms in this type of replacements. An in vitro study of fatigue behavior in cemented acetabular replacements has been carried out, utilizing a newly developed hip simulator. The machine was designed to simulate the direction and the magnitude of the hip contact force under typical physiological loading conditions, including normal walking and stair climbing, as reported by Bergmann (2001, Hip 98, Freie Universitaet, Berlin). A 3D finite element analysis has been carried out to validate the function of the hip simulator and to evaluate the effects of boundary conditions and geometry of the specimen on the stress distribution in the cement mantle. Bovine pelvic bones were implanted with a Charnley cup, using standard manual cementing techniques. Experiments were carried out under normal walking and descending stairs loading conditions with selected load levels from a body weight of 75125kg. Periodically, the samples were removed from the test rigs to allow CT scanning for the purpose of monitoring damage development in the cement fixation. The hip simulator was found to be satisfactory in reproducing the hip contact force during normal walking and stair climbing, as reported by Bergmann Finite element analysis shows that the stress distributions in the cement mantle and at the bone-cement interface are largely unaffected by the geometry and the boundary conditions of the model. Three samples were tested up to 17×106cycles and sectioned post-testing for microscopic studies. Debonding at the bone-cement interface of various degrees in the posterior-superior quadrant was revealed in these samples, and the location of the failures corresponds to the highest stressed region from the finite-element analysis. Preliminary experimental results from a newly developed hip simulator seem to suggest that debonding at the bone-cement interface is the main failure mechanism in cemented acetabular replacements, and descending stairs seem to be more detrimental than normal walking or ascending stairs with regard to fatigue integrity of cement fixation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021020-021020-17. doi:10.1115/1.2898712.

Accurate knowledge of biomechanical characteristics of tissues is essential for developing realistic computer-based surgical simulators incorporating haptic feedback, as well as for the design of surgical robots and tools. As simulation technologies continue to be capable of modeling more complex behavior, an in vivo tissue property database is needed. Most past and current biomechanical research is focused on soft and hard anatomical structures that are subject to physiological loading, testing the organs in situ. Internal organs are different in that respect since they are not subject to extensive loads as part of their regular physiological function. However, during surgery, a different set of loading conditions are imposed on these organs as a result of the interaction with the surgical tools. Following previous research studying the kinematics and dynamics of tool/tissue interaction in real surgical procedures, the focus of the current study was to obtain the structural biomechanical properties (engineering stress-strain and stress relaxation) of seven abdominal organs, including bladder, gallbladder, large and small intestines, liver, spleen, and stomach, using a porcine animal model. The organs were tested in vivo, in situ, and ex corpus (the latter two conditions being postmortem) under cyclical and step strain compressions using a motorized endoscopic grasper and a universal-testing machine. The tissues were tested with the same loading conditions commonly applied by surgeons during minimally invasive surgical procedures. Phenomenological models were developed for the various organs, testing conditions, and experimental devices. A property database—unique to the literature—has been created that contains the average elastic and relaxation model parameters measured for these tissues in vivo and postmortem. The results quantitatively indicate the significant differences between tissue properties measured in vivo and postmortem. A quantitative understanding of how the unconditioned tissue properties and model parameters are influenced by time postmortem and loading condition has been obtained. The results provide the material property foundations for developing science-based haptic surgical simulators, as well as surgical tools for manual and robotic systems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021021-021021-10. doi:10.1115/1.2903434.

Trabecular bone fracture is closely related to the trabecular architecture, microdamage accumulation, and bone tissue properties. Micro-finite-element models have been used to investigate the elastic and yield properties of trabecular bone but have only seen limited application in modeling the microstructure dependent fracture of trabecular bone. In this research, dynamic fracture in two-dimensional (2D) micrographs of ovine (sheep) trabecular bone is modeled using the cohesive finite element method. For this purpose, the bone tissue is modeled as an orthotropic material with the cohesive parameters calculated from the experimental fracture properties of the human cortical bone. Crack propagation analyses are carried out in two different 2D orthogonal sections cut from a three-dimensional 8mm diameter cylindrical trabecular bone sample. The two sections differ in microstructural features such as area fraction (ratio of the 2D space occupied by bone tissue to the total 2D space), mean trabecula thickness, and connectivity. Analyses focus on understanding the effect of the rate of loading as well as on how the rate variation interacts with the microstructural features to cause anisotropy in microdamage accumulation and in the fracture resistance. Results are analyzed in terms of the dependence of fracture energy dissipation on the microstructural features as well as in terms of the changes in damage and stresses associated with the bone architecture variation. Besides the obvious dependence of the fracture behavior on the rate of loading, it is found that the microstructure strongly influences the fracture properties. The orthogonal section with lesser area fraction, low connectivity, and higher mean trabecula thickness is more resistant to fracture than the section with high area fraction, high connectivity, and lower mean trabecula thickness. In addition, it is found that the trabecular architecture leads to inhomogeneous distribution of damage, irrespective of the symmetry in the applied loading with the fracture of the entire bone section rapidly progressing to bone fragmentation once the accumulated damage in any trabeculae reaches a critical limit.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021022-021022-13. doi:10.1115/1.2898723.

This study developed and validated finite element (FE) models of swine and human thoraxes and abdomens that had subject-specific anatomies and could accurately and efficiently predict body responses to blunt impacts. Anatomies of the rib cage, torso walls, thoracic, and abdominal organs were reconstructed from X-ray computed tomography (CT) images and extracted into geometries to build FE meshes. The rib cage was modeled as an inhomogeneous beam structure with geometry and bone material parameters determined directly from CT images. Meshes of soft components were generated by mapping structured mesh templates representative of organ topologies onto the geometries. The swine models were developed from and validated by 30 animal tests in which blunt insults were applied to swine subjects and CT images, chest wall motions, lung pressures, and pathological data were acquired. A comparison of the FE calculations of animal responses and experimental measurements showed a good agreement. The errors in calculated response time traces were within 10% for most tests. Calculated peak responses showed strong correlations with the experimental values. The stress concentration inside the ribs, lungs, and livers produced by FE simulations also compared favorably to the injury locations. A human FE model was developed from CT images from the Visible Human project and was scaled to simulate historical frontal and side post mortem human subject (PMHS) impact tests. The calculated chest deformation also showed a good agreement with the measurements. The models developed in this study can be of great value for studying blunt thoracic and abdominal trauma and for designing injury prevention techniques, equipments, and devices.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021023-021023-10. doi:10.1115/1.2898830.

Biomechanical studies suggest that one determinant of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture is related to the stress in the wall. In this regard, a reliable and accurate stress analysis of an in vivo AAA requires a suitable 3D constitutive model. To date, stress analysis conducted on AAA is mainly driven by isotropic tissue models. However, recent biaxial tensile tests performed on AAA tissue samples demonstrate the anisotropic nature of this tissue. The purpose of this work is to study the influence of geometry and material anisotropy on the magnitude and distribution of the peak wall stress in AAAs. Three-dimensional computer models of symmetric and asymmetric AAAs were generated in which the maximum diameter and length of the aneurysm were individually controlled. A five parameter exponential type structural strain-energy function was used to model the anisotropic behavior of the AAA tissue. The anisotropy is determined by the orientation of the collagen fibers (one parameter of the model). The results suggest that shorter aneurysms are more critical when asymmetries are present. They show a strong influence of the material anisotropy on the magnitude and distribution of the peak stress. Results confirm that the relative aneurysm length and the degree of aneurysmal asymmetry should be considered in a rupture risk decision criterion for AAAs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):021024-021024-9. doi:10.1115/1.2903422.

The aim of this study was to determine the relative contributions of the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles to glenohumeral joint stability during arm abduction. A three-dimensional model of the upper limb was used to calculate the muscle and joint-contact forces at the shoulder for abduction in the scapular plane. The joints of the shoulder girdle—sternoclavicular joint, acromioclavicular joint, and glenohumeral joint—were each represented as an ideal three degree-of-freedom ball-and-socket joint. The articulation between the scapula and thorax was modeled using two kinematic constraints. Eighteen muscle bundles were used to represent the lines of action of 11 muscle groups spanning the glenohumeral joint. The three-dimensional positions of the clavicle, scapula, and humerus during abduction were measured using intracortical bone pins implanted into one subject. The measured bone positions were inputted into the model, and an optimization problem was solved to calculate the forces developed by the shoulder muscles for abduction in the scapular plane. The model calculations showed that the rotator cuff muscles (specifically, supraspinatus, subscapularis, and infraspinatus) by virtue of their lines of action are perfectly positioned to apply compressive load across the glenohumeral joint, and that these muscles contribute most significantly to shoulder joint stability during abduction. The middle deltoid provides most of the compressive force acting between the humeral head and the glenoid, but this muscle also creates most of the shear, and so its contribution to joint stability is less than that of any of the rotator cuff muscles.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):024501-024501-3. doi:10.1115/1.2898722.

Blood flow in a small tube (301000μm) can be successfully modeled by the two-fluid model. The fully developed, constant heat flux convective heat transfer problem is studied. The velocity and temperature profiles are determined in closed form. Formulas for friction-factor-Reynolds number product, axial temperature gradient, and Nusselt number are found.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J Biomech Eng. 2008;130(2):024502-024502-4. doi:10.1115/1.2899572.

Optimal parameters for many orthopaedic implants, such as stem length and material, are unknown. Geometry and mechanical properties of bone can vary greatly amongst cadaveric specimens, requiring a large number of specimens to test design variations. This study aimed to develop an experimental methodology to measure bone strains as a function of multiple implant stem designs in a single specimen, and evaluate its efficacy in the distal ulna. Eight fresh-frozen cadaveric ulnae were each instrumented with 12 uniaxial strain gauges on the medial and lateral surfaces of the bone. The proximal portion of each ulna was cemented in a custom-designed jig that allowed a medially directed force to be applied to the distal articular surface. An implant with a finely threaded stem was cemented into the canal by an experienced upper extremity orthopaedic surgeon. Six loads (530N) were applied sequentially to the lateral surface of the prosthetic head using a materials testing machine. Testing was repeated after breaking the stem-cement bond, and after removing and reinserting the stem several times into the threaded cement mantle. Near the end of the testing period, the initial stem was reinserted and data were collected to determine if there was any change in bone properties or testing setup over time. Finally, a smooth stem was inserted for comparison to the threaded stem. Strain varied linearly with load (R20.99) for all testing scenarios. Bending strains were not affected by breaking the stem-cement bond (P=0.7), testing durations up to 18h(P=0.7), nor the presence of threads when compared to a smooth stem (P>0.4). Furthermore, for all gauges, there was no interaction between the effect of the threads and level of applied load (P>0.1). This methodology should prove to be useful to compare stem designs of varying lengths and materials in the same bone, allowing for a direct comparison between implant designs for the ulna and other bones subjected primarily to bending loads. Furthermore, it will minimize the need for large numbers of specimens to test multiple implant designs. The ultimate goal of using this protocol is to optimize implant stem properties, such as length and material, with respect to load transfer.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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