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J Orthop Res. 2019 Mar 6. doi: 10.1002/jor.24273. [Epub ahead of print]

Computational evaluation of altered biomechanics related to articular cartilage lesions observed in vivo.

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Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Diagnostic Imaging Center, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Centre of Oncology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Orthopaedics and Traumatology Clinic, Mehiläinen, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Orthopaedics, Traumatology and Hand Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland.


Chondral lesions provide a potential risk factor for development of osteoarthritis. Despite the variety of in vitro studies on lesion degeneration, in vivo studies that evaluate relation between lesion characteristics and the risk for the possible progression of OA are lacking. Here, we aimed to characterize different lesions and quantify biomechanical responses experienced by surrounding cartilage tissue. We generated computational knee joint models with nine chondral injuries based on clinical in vivo arthrographic computed tomography images. Finite element models with fibril-reinforced poro(visco)elastic cartilage and menisci were constructed to simulate physiological loading. Systematically, the lesions experienced increased maximum principal and maximum shear strains and, moreover, decreased minimum principal strain in the surrounding chondral tissue (p < 0.01) compared with intact tissue. Depth, volume and area of the lesion correlated with the maximum shear strain (p < 0.05, Spearman rank correlation coefficient ρ = 0.733-0.917). Depth and volume of the lesion correlated also with the maximum principal strain (p < 0.05, ρ = 0.767 and ρ = 0.717, respectively). However, the lesion area had non-significant correlation with this strain parameter (p = 0.06, ρ = 0.65). Potentially, the introduced approach could be developed for clinical evaluation of biomechanical risks of a chondral lesion and planning an intervention. Statement of Clinical Relevance: In this study, we computationally characterized different in vivo chondral lesions and evaluated their risk of cartilage degeneration. This information is vital in decision-making for intervention in order to prevent post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Computed tomography; Finite element analysis; Injury; Knee joint; Osteoarthritis


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