Optimization of the Implantation Angle for a Talar Resurfacing Implant : A Finite Element Study
Osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLTs) are the third most common type of osteochondral lesion and can cause pain and instability of the ankle joint. Episurf Medical AB is a medical technology company that develops individualized implants for patients who are suffering from focal cartilage lesions. Episurf have recently started a project that aims to implement their implantation technique in the treatment of OLTs.
This master thesis was a part of Episurf’s talus project and the main goal of the thesis was to find the optimal implantation angle of the Episurf implant when treating OLTs. The optimal implantation angle was defined as the angle that minimized the maximum equivalent (von Mises) strain acting on the implant shaft during the stance phase of a normal gait cycle. It is desirable to minimize the strain acting on the implant shaft, since a reduction of the strain can improve the longevity of the implant.
To find the optimal implantation angle a finite element model of an ankle joint treated with the Episurf implant was developed. In the model an implant with a diameter of 12 millimeters was placed in the middle part of the medial side of the talar dome. An optimization algorithm was designed to find the implantation angle, which minimized the maximum equivalent strain acting on the implant shaft. The optimal implantation angle was found to be a sagittal angle of 12.5 degrees and a coronal angle of 0 degrees. Both the magnitude and the direction of the force applied to the ankle joint in the simulated stance phase seemed to influence the maximum equivalent strain acting on the implant shaft.
A number of simplifications have been done in the simulation of this project, which might affect the accuracy of the results. Therefore it is recommended that further, more detailed, simulations based on this project are performed in order to improve the result accuracy.
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