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Importance Of Material Properties And Porosity Of Bone On Mechanical Response Of Articular Cartilage In Human Knee Joint--a Two-dimensional Finite Element Study.

Mikko S. Venäläinen, Mika E. Mononen, Jukka S. Jurvelin, J. Töyräs, T. Virén, Rami K. Korhonen
Published 2014 · Materials Science, Medicine

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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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