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Comput Aided Surg. 2014;19(4-6):57-63. doi: 10.3109/10929088.2014.886083. Epub 2014 May 19.

Evaluation of a computational model to predict elbow range of motion.

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Bioengineering Research Laboratory, The Hand and Upper Limb Centre, Lawson Health Research Institute, St. Joseph's Health Care London , London , Ontario .


Computer models capable of predicting elbow flexion and extension range of motion (ROM) limits would be useful for assisting surgeons in improving the outcomes of surgical treatment of patients with elbow contractures. A simple and robust computer-based model was developed that predicts elbow joint ROM using bone geometries calculated from computed tomography image data. The model assumes a hinge-like flexion-extension axis, and that elbow passive ROM limits can be based on terminal bony impingement. The model was validated against experimental results with a cadaveric specimen, and was able to predict the flexion and extension limits of the intact joint to 0° and 3°, respectively. The model was also able to predict the flexion and extension limits to 1° and 2°, respectively, when simulated osteophytes were inserted into the joint. Future studies based on this approach will be used for the prediction of elbow flexion-extension ROM in patients with primary osteoarthritis to help identify motion-limiting hypertrophic osteophytes, and will eventually permit real-time computer-assisted navigated excisions.


Computational biomechanics; elbow range of motion; experimental validation; impingement analysis; osteoarthritis; osteophytes; rigid body model

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