Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful joint disease, causing disabilities in daily activities. However, there is no known cure for OA, and the best treatment strategy might be prevention. Finite element (FE) modeling has demonstrated potential for evaluating personalized risks for the progression of OA. Current FE modeling approaches use primarily magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to construct personalized knee joint models. However, MRI is expensive and has lower resolution than computed tomography (CT). In this study, we extend a previously presented atlas-based FE modeling framework for automatic model generation and simulation of knee joint tissue responses using contrast agent-free CT. In this method, based on certain anatomical dimensions measured from bone surfaces, an optimal template is selected and scaled to generate a personalized FE model. We compared the simulated tissue responses of the CT-based models with those of the MRI-based models. We show that the CT-based models are capable of producing similar tensile stresses, fibril strains, and fluid pressures of knee joint cartilage compared to those of the MRI-based models. This study provides a new methodology for the analysis of knee joint and cartilage mechanics based on measurement of bone dimensions from native CT scans.

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Annals of Biomedical Engineering