From high-resolution CT data to finite element models: development of an integrated modular framework

Dieter H. Pahr*, Philippe K. Zysset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

104 Citations (Scopus)


New ideas for the extraction of finite element (FE) models from high-resolution computed tomography datasets are presented. The multi-step approach starts with a 3D region-growing algorithm in order to extract the outer voxel based iso-surface. This information is used to compute a voxel model of the cortical shell. The next step provides triangulated surfaces of the outer bone contour. Three-dimensional deformable models using a gradient vector flow and a multi-level mesh resampling are used. These meshes are self-regularising and of high quality. A further step contains a new self correcting cortical shell thickness evaluation algorithm, which results in topological conform smooth inner and outer compact bone iso-surface meshes. Such iso-surfaces can be used for numerically efficient FE models, which are of bio-mechanical and clinical importance. Details of the approach are described and applications with respect to a human proximal femur and vertebral body are shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Cortical shell thickness
  • Deformable model
  • Finite element mesh
  • Gradient vector flow
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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