Numerical design and development of a meniscus implant based on functionality and tissue damage
Juan Parraga Quiroga MSc
The knee meniscus is a wedge shaped cartilaginous tissue located in the knee joints between the femoral condyles and the tibia plateau. The main function of the human meniscus is to transfer and distribute loads in the joint.
Joints where the meniscus is damaged, partially or fully removed, experience loss of load bearing ability and develop a degenerative process over the adjacent articular cartilages (AC). The last could eventually lead to osteoarthritis; in such cases, the most appealing treatment option would be a meniscus replacement. Such a replacement should not only transmit loads as efficient and smoothly as the native meniscus but also prevent any kind of degeneration over AC.
To contribute in the design of meniscus implants we will first explore and understand the interaction native meniscus-tibiofemoral AC in the healthy joint. An axisymmetric finite element analysis (FEA) model of the knee joint will be used. Experimentally measured constitutive components (water-collagen-glycosaminoglycans) are the main inputs to our composition based FEA model.
Once it is understood how the tissues behave in healthy conditions, the effects of the implant will be assessed. Based on the results, the implant will be iteratively improved until a mechanically superior chondroprotective meniscus implant is obtained.