Computational predictions of stiffness and peri-implant loading of screw-bone constructs are highly relevant to investigate and improve bone fracture fixations. Homogenized finite element (hFE) models have been used for this purpose in the past, but their accuracy has been questioned given the numerous simplifications, such as neglecting screw threads and modelling the trabecular bone structure as a continuum. This study aimed to investigate the accuracy of hFE models of an osseointegrated screw-bone construct when compared to micro-FE models considering the simplified screw geometry and different trabecular bone material models. Micro-FE and hFE models were created from 15 cylindrical bone samples with a virtually inserted, osseointegrated screw (fully bonded interface). Micro-FE models were created including the screw with threads (=reference models) and without threads to quantify the error due to screw geometry simplification. In the hFE models, the screws were modelled without threads and four different trabecular bone material models were used, including orthotropic and isotropic material derived from homogenization with kinematic uniform boundary conditions (KUBC), as well as from periodicity-compatible mixed uniform boundary conditions (PMUBC). Three load cases were simulated (pullout, shear in two directions) and errors in the construct stiffness and the volume average strain energy density (SED) in the peri-implant region were evaluated relative to the micro-FE model with a threaded screw. The pooled error caused by only omitting screw threads was low (max: 8.0%) compared to the pooled error additionally including homogenized trabecular bone material (max: 92.2%). Stiffness was predicted most accurately using PMUBC-derived orthotropic material (error: -0.7 ± 8.0%) and least accurately using KUBC-derived isotropic material (error: +23.1 ± 24.4%). Peri-implant SED averages were generally well correlated (R2 ≥ 0.76), but slightly over- or underestimated by the hFE models and SED distributions were qualitatively different between hFE and micro-FE models. This study suggests that osseointegrated screw-bone construct stiffness can be predicted accurately using hFE models when compared to micro-FE models and that volume average peri-implant SEDs are well correlated. However, the hFE models are highly sensitive to the choice of trabecular bone material properties. PMUBC-derived isotropic material properties represented the best trade-off between model accuracy and complexity in this study.
|Journal||Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials|
|Early online date||22 Feb 2023|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2023|