Translational Research Programme Better implant fit results from application of mathematical methods
People with medical implants will soon be able to enjoy an acute benefit from fundamental scientific research results, feeling it directly in their bodies. This is shown by findings of a translational research project conducted by the science fund FWF.
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Project researchers demonstrated how 3D models and special mathematical methods can be used to improve the design of implants and the related healing process on a patient-specific basis. Focusing on shoulder joint prostheses, they recorded data from computed and magnetic-resonance tomographs and used it to generate 3D models which were then analysed by means of the finite-element method (FEM). Potential custom optimisations of the models then were calculated.
The translational research programme of the science fund FWF was undertaken on assignment from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Traffic, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). It was discontinued after the first quarter of 2012.
Mathematics and medicine in collaboration
Within the project, fundamental scientific findings from activities in the fields of mathematics, medicine and computer science were united with the aim of optimising prostheses for shoulder joints for individual patients. Under the leadership of Dr. Karl Entacher from Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and Dr. Peter Schuller-Götzburg from Paracelsus Medizinische Privatuniversität Salzburg, computer models of the human shoulder joint were first generated and then used as the basis of analytical simulations of various conditions of strain.
Optimising implants patient by patient
The Austrian researchers used FEM to simulate the widest variety of possible conditions, taking into account such variables as material properties and strains, as well as limitations on patient mobility. “It was our aim to simulate various positions and different angles of the implant in the body as well as the anatomic preconditions of various individual patients,” says Entacher.
Indeed, the model is so sophisticated that specific tissue types, such as soft tissue or various bone areas, can be selected. Virtual cuts for the arbitrary displacement of bone and implant parts are also possible. The modelling technology allows valuable data for patient-specific optimisation of not only shoulder but also dental implants to be obtained, which in future will be able to provide important information respecting the position, type or behaviour of an implant even before the medical intervention that places it in the patient.
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Der Wissenschaftsfonds FWF