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Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2019 May;22(7):740-751. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2019.1588963. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

A comprehensive and volumetric musculoskeletal model for the dynamic simulation of the shoulder function.

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a Computer-assisted Applications in Medicine (CAiM), ETH Zurich , Zurich , Switzerland.
b Department of Orthopaedics , Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich , Zurich , Switzerland.
c Computer Assisted Research and Development (CARD), Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich , Zurich , Switzerland.


We present a volumetric and extensive finite element model of the shoulder usable in the context of inverse control, in which the scapula is left unconstrained on the ribcage. Such a model allows for exploring various shoulder movements, which are essential for making patient-specific decisions. The proposed model consists of 23 volumetric muscles parts modelled using the finite element method. The glenohumeral, acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joints are modelled with soft ball-socket constraints. The musculoskeletal model can be controlled by a tracking-based algorithm, finding the excitations values in the muscles needed to follow some target points. The moment arms obtained during abduction and rotation are compared with the literature, which includes results from cadaveric data and a fine FE model of the rotator cuff and the deltoid. We simulated the paralysis of serratus anterior, a main reason of scapular winging, and compared it with its physiological counterpart. A deficiency in the range of motion as well as a reduction in upward rotation were observed, which both corroborate clinical observations. This is one of the most comprehensive model of the shoulder, which can be used to study complex pathologies of the shoulder and their impact on functional outcome such as range-of-motion.


Modelling; finite element model; forward-dynamics tracking simulation; multibody simulation; musculoskeletal model; shoulder girdle

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