Sensitivity of tissue differentiation and bone healing predictions to tissue properties

H.E. Isaksson, C.C. Donkelaar, van, K. Ito

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Computational models are employed as tools to investigate possible mechano-regulation pathways for tissue differentiation and bone healing. However, current models do not account for the uncertainty in input parameters, and often include assumptions about parameter values that are not yet established. The aim was to clarify the importance of the assumed tissue material properties in a computational model of tissue differentiation during bone healing. An established mechano-biological model was employed together with a statistical approach. The model included an adaptive 2D finite element model of a fractured long bone. Four outcome criteria were quantified: (1) ability to predict sequential healing events, (2) amount of bone formation at specific time points, (3) total time until healing, and (4) mechanical stability at specific time points. Statistical analysis based on fractional factorial designs first involved a screening experiment to identify the most significant tissue material properties. These seven properties were studied further with response surface methodology in a three-level Box-Behnken design. Generally, the sequential events were not significantly influenced by any properties, whereas rate-dependent outcome criteria and mechanical stability were significantly influenced by Young's modulus and permeability. Poisson's ratio and porosity had minor effects. The amount of bone formation at early, mid and late phases of healing, the time until complete healing and the mechanical stability were all mostly dependent on three material properties; permeability of granulation tissue, Young's modulus of cartilage and permeability of immature bone. The consistency between effects of the most influential parameters was high. To increase accuracy and predictive capacity of computational models of bone healing, the most influential tissue mechanical properties should be accurately quantified. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-564
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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