Effects of Surgical Repair or Reconstruction on Radiocarpal Mechanics from Wrists with Scapholunate Ligament Injury
Johnson, Joshua E.
University of Kansas
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Osteoarthritis as a result of injury/trauma is a significant problem, and there is still a need to develop tools for evaluating joint injuries and the effectiveness of surgical treatments. For the wrist in particular, injury to the scapholunate ligament from impact loading, can lead to scapholunate joint instability. Without treatment, this can lead to progressive development of wrist osteoarthritis. Joint contact pressures are important mechanical factors in the etiology of osteoarthritis, and these can be determined non-invasively through computer modeling. Hence, the goal of this work was to investigate the effects of scapholunate ligament injury and surgical repair on radioscapholunate contact mechanics, through surface contact modeling (SCM) and finite element modeling (FEM). The modeling process required geometries, boundary conditions and a contact relationship. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to acquire images of the normal, injured and post-operative wrists, while relaxed and during active grasp loading. Surface and volumetric models were generated from the relaxed images, while kinematic boundary conditions were determined from image registration between the relaxed and loaded images. To improve the automatic image registration process, the effects of initial manual registration on the outcome of final registration accuracy, were investigated. Results showed that kinematic accuracy and subsequent contact mechanics were improved by performing a manual registration to align the image volumes as close as possible, before auto-registration. Looking at the effects of scapholunate ligament injury, results showed that contact forces, contact areas, peak and mean contact pressures significantly increased in the radioscaphoid joint. The locations of contact also shifted with injury. This novel data showed that contact mechanics was altered for the worse after injury. Novel contact mechanics data on the effects of surgical repair were also obtained. Results showed that radiolunate peak and mean contact pressures decreased significantly compared to injured, which indicated the possibility of restoring normal mechanics post surgery. SCM results were compared to FEM results to demonstrate the feasibility of the surface contact modeling approach for clinical applications. Contact parameters compared well between the two techniques. This work demonstrated the potential of MRI-based SCM as a tool to evaluate joint injuries and subsequent treatments, for clinical applications.
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