Research in bone biomechanics seeks to predict and prevent bone fractures, through investigating the static and dynamic impact on bone, and also to improve the stability of bone implants. In order to do this, various numerical approaches exist, as the same bone sample can undergo several tests.
The finite element (FE) approach is a numerical method used to solve complex bone geometry and structure, ranging from the microstructure to the whole bone level. For each FE study, a customised computational workflow is developed. Bone images are processed and converted to an FE-solver input file, analysis is carried out, and the results are post-processed. However, there is a lack of standardisation between these workflows, presenting a challenge when it comes to both interoperability and knowledge transfer.
In this project, the technical approaches in the Swiss bone biomechanical community were investigated, including research groups at the University of Bern, ETH Zurich, the AO Research Institute Davos, and EPFL. In addition, contact was also made with the Vienna University of Technology to investigate approaches from other European bone biomechanical researchers. As such, the aim of this project was to gain an overview of related software and libraries, and assess the state-of-the-art in computational tools for bone biomechanical research. A secondary goal was to build on this by creating a conceptual design of a bone biomechanical analysis pipeline, and provide a prototype for demonstration purposes to verify the feasibility of such a software platform for future projects.
The project resulted in two tangible outcomes. Firstly, a report was compiled about the state-of-the-art in in computational approaches for bone biomechanical research, building on first-hand experiences and interactions with the research community. Secondly, a prototype computational pipeline for calculating radius section strength was designed and developed, packaged in a containerised solution to facilitate the deployment and interoperability of this pipeline, thereby improving the exchange of this analysis approach for collaborative research.
Institute for Surgical Technology and Biomechanics at the University of Bern, Institute for Biomechanics at ETH Zurich, EPFL Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopaedics, and the AO Research Institute Davos