, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 20-38
Date: 14 Jun 2005

An anatomically based patient-specific finite element model of patella articulation: towards a diagnostic tool

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Abstract

A 3D anatomically based patient-specific finite element (FE) model of patello-femoral (PF) articulation is presented to analyse the main features of patella biomechanics, namely, patella tracking (kinematics), quadriceps extensor forces, surface contact and internal patella stresses. The generic geometries are a subset from the model database of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) (http://www.physiome.org.nz) Physiome Project with soft tissue derived from the widely used visible human dataset, and the bones digitised from an anatomically accurate physical model with muscle attachment information. The models are customised to patient magnetic resonance images using a variant of free-form deformation, called ‘host-mesh’ fitting. The continuum was solved using the governing equation of finite elasticity, with the multibody problem coupled through contact mechanics. Additional constraints such as tissue incompressibility are also imposed. Passive material properties are taken from the literature and implemented for deformable tissue with a non-linear micro-structurally based constitutive law. Bone and cartilage are implemented using a ‘St-Venant Kirchoff’ model suitable for rigid body rotations. The surface fibre directions have been estimated from anatomy images of cadaver muscle dissections and active muscle contraction was based on a steady-state calcium-tension relation. The 3D continuum model of muscle, tendon and bone is compared with experimental results from the literature, and surgical simulations performed to illustrate its clinical assessment capabilities (a Maquet procedure for reducing patella stresses and a vastus lateralis release for a bipartite patella). Finally, the model limitations, issues and future improvements are discussed.