Mechanical loading of soft tissues covering bony prominences can cause skeletal muscle damage, ultimately resulting in a severe pressure ulcer termed deep tissue injury (DTI). Deformation plays an important role in the aetiology of DTI. Therefore, it is essential to minimise internal muscle deformations in subjects at risk of DTI. As an example, spinal cord-injured (SCI) individuals exhibit structural changes leading to a decrease in muscle thickness and stiffness, which subsequently increase the tissue deformations. In the present study, an animal-specific finite element model, where the geometry and boundary conditions were derived from magnetic resonance images, was developed. It was used to investigate the internal deformations in the muscle, fat and skin layers of the porcine buttocks during loading. The model indicated the presence of large deformations in both the muscle and the fat layers, with maximum shear strains up to 0.65 in muscle tissue and 0.63 in fat. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis showed that the tissue deformations depend considerably on the relative stiffness values of the different tissues. For example, a change in muscle stiffness had a large effect on the muscle deformations. A 50% decrease in stiffness caused an increase in maximum shear strain from 0.65 to 0.99, whereas a 50% increase in stiffness resulted in a decrease in maximum shear strain from 0.65 to 0.49. These results indicate the importance of restoring tissue properties after SCI, with the use of, for example, electrical stimulation, to prevent the development of DTI.
|Tijdschrift||Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||5|
|Status||Gepubliceerd - 2013|