Prediction of fracture load and stiffness of the proximal femur by CT-based specimen specific finite element analysis: cadaveric validation study

Michiaki Miura, Junichi Nakamura, Yusuke Matsuura, Yasushi Wako, Takane Suzuki, Shigeo Hagiwara, Sumihisa Orita, Kazuhide Inage, Yuya Kawarai, Masahiko Sugano, Kento Nawata, Seiji Ohtori
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2017 December 16, 18 (1): 536

BACKGROUND: Finite element analysis (FEA) of the proximal femur has been previously validated with large mesh size, but these were insufficient to simulate the model with small implants in recent studies. This study aimed to validate the proximal femoral computed tomography (CT)-based specimen-specific FEA model with smaller mesh size using fresh frozen cadavers.

METHODS: Twenty proximal femora from 10 cadavers (mean age, 87.1 years) were examined. CT was performed on all specimens with a calibration phantom. Nonlinear FEA prediction with stance configuration was performed using Mechanical Finder (mesh,1.5 mm tetrahedral elements; shell thickness, 0.2 mm; Poisson's coefficient, 0.3), in comparison with mechanical testing. Force was applied at a fixed vertical displacement rate, and the magnitude of the applied load and displacement were continuously recorded. The fracture load and stiffness were calculated from force-displacement curve, and the correlation between mechanical testing and FEA prediction was examined.

RESULTS: A pilot study with one femur revealed that the equations proposed by Keller for vertebra were the most reproducible for calculating Young's modulus and the yield stress of elements of the proximal femur. There was a good linear correlation between fracture loads of mechanical testing and FEA prediction (R2 = 0.6187) and between the stiffness of mechanical testing and FEA prediction (R2 = 0.5499). There was a good linear correlation between fracture load and stiffness (R2 = 0.6345) in mechanical testing and an excellent correlation between these (R2 = 0.9240) in FEA prediction.

CONCLUSIONS: CT-based specimen-specific FEA model of the proximal femur with small element size was validated using fresh frozen cadavers. The equations proposed by Keller for vertebra were found to be the most reproducible for the proximal femur in elderly people.

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