Evaluation of the chondral modeling theory using fe-simulation and numeric shape optimization


Jeffrey H. Plochocki, Ph.D., Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University, 19555 N 59thAve, Glendale, AZ 85308 USA. E: jploch@midwestern.edu


The chondral modeling theory proposes that hydrostatic pressure within articular cartilage regulates joint size, shape, and congruence through regional variations in rates of tissue proliferation. The purpose of this study is to develop a computational model using a nonlinear two-dimensional finite element analysis in conjunction with numeric shape optimization to evaluate the chondral modeling theory. The model employed in this analysis is generated from an MR image of the medial portion of the tibiofemoral joint in a subadult male. Stress-regulated morphological changes are simulated until skeletal maturity and evaluated against the chondral modeling theory. The computed results are found to support the chondral modeling theory. The shape-optimized model exhibits increased joint congruence, broader stress distributions in articular cartilage, and a relative decrease in joint diameter. The results for the computational model correspond well with experimental data and provide valuable insights into the mechanical determinants of joint growth. The model also provides a crucial first step toward developing a comprehensive model that can be employed to test the influence of mechanical variables on joint conformation.