Stress shielding is a biomechanical phenomenon causing adaptive changes in bone strength and stiffness around metallic implants, which potentially lead to implant loosening. Accordingly, there is a need for standard, objective engineering measures of the "stress shielding" performances of an implant that can be employed in the process of computer-aided implant design. To provide and test such measures, we developed hierarchical computational models of adaptation of the trabecular microarchitecture at different sites in the proximal femur, in response to insertion of orthopaedic screws and in response to hypothetical reductions in hip joint and gluteal muscle forces. By identifying similar bone adaptation outcomes from the two scenarios, we were able to quantify the stress shielding caused by screws in terms of analogous hypothetical reductions in hip joint and gluteal muscle forces. Specifically, we developed planar lattice models of trabecular microstructures at five regions of interest (ROI) in the proximal femur. The homeostatic and abnormal loading conditions for the lattices were determined from a finite element model of the femur at the continuum scale and fed to an iterative algorithm simulating the adaptation of each lattice to these loads. When screws were inserted to the femur model, maximal simulated bone loss (17% decrease in apparent density, 10% decrease in thickness of trabeculae) was at the greater trochanter and this effect was equivalent to the effect of 50% reduction in gluteal force and normal hip joint force. We conclude that stress shielding performances can be quantified for different screw designs using model-predicted hypothetical musculoskeletal load fractions that would cause a similar pattern and extent of bone loss to that caused by the implants.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering|
|State||Published - Feb 2006|