Current development of a laser scanning confocal arthroscope within our school will enable 3D microscopic imaging of joint tissues in vivo. Such an instrument could be useful, for example, in assessing the microstructural condition of the living tissues without physical biopsy. It is envisaged also that linked to a suitable microstructural constitutive formulation, such imaging could allow non-invasive patient-specific estimation of tissue mechanical performance. Such a procedure could have applications in surgical planning and simulation, and assessment of engineered tissue replacements, where tissue biopsy is unacceptable. In this first of two papers the development of a suitable constitutive framework for generating such estimates is reported. A microstructure-based constitutive formulation for cartilaginous tissues is presented. The model extends existing fibre composite-type models and accounts for strain-rate sensitivity of the tissue mechanical response through incorporation of a viscoelastic fibre phase. Importantly, the model is constructed so as to allow direct incorporation of structural data from confocal images. A finite element implementation of the formulation suitable for incorporation within commercial codes is also presented.
|Journal||Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|