Forma, Vol. 12 (Nos. 3, 4), pp. 277-299, 1997
Original Paper

Introduction to Finite Element Based Simulation of Functional Adaptation of Cancellous Bone

R. T. Hart and S. P. Fritton

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

(Received November 22, 1995; Accepted November 11, 1996)

Keywords: Bone Remodeling, Bone Morphogenesis, Computer Simulation, Bone Mechanics, Wolff's Law

Abstract. This introductory presentation will begin to explore the use of finite element methods as a tool to understand, describe and ultimately predict the adaptation of cancellous bone to mechanical usage.
  The specific questions to be addressed during the session were:
  1. What have we learned about mechanical control of cancellous bone architecture from finite element models of bone remodeling?
  2. What are the limits of continuum mechanics and finite element methods insofar as trabecular geometry and principal stress calculations are concerned?
A survey of the progress that has been reported in the literature for developing finite element based methods for simulation of functional adaptation of trabecular bone will be presented. Previous numerical implementations for architecture simulation are a result of choices regarding material scale size (continuum and/or trabecular) and time scales. Highlighted issues will include the various hypothesized mechanical models describing adaptation of cancellous bone density and orientation, and limitations and contributions of work to date.