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J Transl Med. 2019 Mar 18;17(1):89. doi: 10.1186/s12967-019-1834-2.

Design and biomechanical characteristics of porous meniscal implant structures using triply periodic minimal surfaces.

Zhu LY1,2, Li L3,4, Li ZA5,6, Shi JP5,6, Tang WL5,6, Yang JQ5,6, Jiang Q7.

Author information

1
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of 3D Printing Equipment and Manufacturing, School of Electrical and Automation Engineering, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China. 61193@njnu.edu.cn.
2
Nanjing Institute of Intelligent Advanced Equipment Industry Co., Ltd., Nanjing, China. 61193@njnu.edu.cn.
3
School of Mechanical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
4
State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Department of Sports Medicine and Adult Reconstructive Surgery, Drum Tower Hospital Affiliated to Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.
5
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of 3D Printing Equipment and Manufacturing, School of Electrical and Automation Engineering, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China.
6
Nanjing Institute of Intelligent Advanced Equipment Industry Co., Ltd., Nanjing, China.
7
State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Department of Sports Medicine and Adult Reconstructive Surgery, Drum Tower Hospital Affiliated to Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. qingj@nju.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Artificial meniscal implants can be used to replace a severely injured meniscus after meniscectomy and restore the normal functionality of a knee joint. The aim of this paper was to design porous meniscal implants and assess their biomechanical properties.

METHODS:

Finite element simulations were conducted on eight different cases including intact healthy knees, knee joints with solid meniscal implants, and knee joints with meniscal implants with two types of triply periodic minimal surfaces. Compression stresses, shear stresses, and characteristics of stress concentrated areas were evaluated using an axial compressive load of 1150 N and an anterior load of 350 N.

RESULTS:

Compared to the solid meniscal implant, the proposed porous meniscal implant produced lower levels of compression and shear stresses on the cartilage, which facilitated the cartilage to retain a semilunar characteristic similar to the natural meniscus. Moreover, both compression and shear stresses on the artificial cartilage were found to be sensitive to the pore properties of the meniscal implant. The meniscal implants with primitive surfaces (porosity: 41%) showed a better performance in disseminating stresses within the knee joint.

CONCLUSION:

The present commercial meniscal implant has the problem of equivalent biomechanical properties compared to natural menisci. The main advantage of the proposed porous structure is that it can be used to prevent excessive compression and shear stresses on the articular cartilages. This structure has advantages both in terms of mechanics and printability, which can be beneficial for future clinical applications.

KEYWORDS:

3D printing; Articular cartilage; Finite element analysis; Mechanical properties; Meniscal implant; Triply periodic minimal surface

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