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Ann Anat. 2004 Feb;186(1):89-95.

Using sensitivity analysis to validate the predictions of a biomechanical model of bite forces.

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Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK.


Biomechanical modelling has become a very popular technique for investigating functional anatomy. Modern computer simulation packages make producing such models straightforward and it is tempting to take the results produced at face value. However the predictions of a simulation are only valid when both the model and the input parameters are accurate and little work has been done to verify this. In this paper a model of the human jaw is produced and a sensitivity analysis is performed to validate the results. The model is built using the ADAMS multibody dynamic simulation package incorporating the major occlusive muscles of mastication (temporalis, masseter, medial and lateral pterygoids) as well as a highly mobile temporomandibular joint. This model is used to predict the peak three-dimensional bite forces at each teeth location, joint reaction forces, and the contributions made by each individual muscle. The results for occlusive bite-force (1080N at M1) match those previously published suggesting the model is valid. The sensitivity analysis was performed by sampling the input parameters from likely ranges and running the simulation many times rather than using single, best estimate values. This analysis shows that the magnitudes of the peak retractive forces on the lower teeth were highly sensitive to the chosen origin (and hence fibre direction) of the temporalis and masseter muscles as well as the laxity of the TMJ. Peak protrusive force was also sensitive to the masseter origin. These result shows that the model is insufficiently complex to estimate these values reliably although the much lower sensitivity values obtained for the bite forces in the other directions and also for the joint reaction forces suggest that these predictions are sound. Without the sensitivity analysis it would not have been possible to identify these weaknesses which strongly supports the use of sensitivity analysis as a validation technique for biomechanical modelling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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