Development and Assessment of a Micro-CT Compatible Five Degree-of-Freedom Knee Joint Motion Simulator

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexandra Blokker

Robarts Research Institute, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Western University, London ON Canada

Alan Getgood

Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic, Western University, London ON Canada

Nathan Curiale

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Western University, London ON Canada

Hristo Nikolov

Robarts Research Institute, Western University, London ON Canada

Justin Laing

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Western University, London ON Canada

David W. Holdsworth

Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University, London ON Canada

Timothy Burkhart

Research Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute, Department Mechanical Engineering, Western University, 1151 Richmond Rd, London ON, Canada, N6A 5B9

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043755 History: Received December 18, 2017; Revised May 01, 2019


Background: Currently available kinematic tracking systems fail to non-invasively capture the subtle variation in joint and soft tissue kinematics that occur in native, injured, and reconstructed joint states. Micro-CT imaging has the potential as a non-invasive, high-resolution kinematic tracking system, but no dynamic simulators exist to take advantage of this. Purpose: The purpose of this work was to develop and assess a novel micro-CT compatible knee joint simulator to quantify the knee joint's response to physiological loading. Methods: The simulator applies closed-loop, load-feedback control over 4 degrees of freedom, and static control over a fifth. Simulator accuracy and repeatability were assessed with a rubber construct, and a human cadaveric knee joint. Results: The simulator loaded both mediums to within 1 % of the set point, with an inter-trial coefficient of variation below 1 % in all loading cases. The resultant kinematics calculated from the acquired images agreed with previously published values, and demonstrated higher spatial resolution. All images were free of artifacts and showed knee joint displacements in response to physiological loading with isotropic CT image resolution of 0.15 mm. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate the potential for this simulator system to contribute to the development of knee joint treatment techniques. Simultaneous, non-invasive kinematic tracking of the homologous bony landmarks and the strains in the soft tissue structures, provides a more complete picture of the interaction of all structures within the joint in various states of injury.

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