Abstract

The menisci play a vital role in the mechanical function of knee joint. Unfortunately, meniscal tears often occur. Meniscectomy is a surgical treatment for meniscal tears; however, mechanical changes in the knee joint after meniscectomy is a risk factor to osteoarthritis (OA). The objective of this study was to investigate the altered cartilage mechanics of different medial meniscectomies using a poromechanical model of the knee joint. The cartilaginous tissues were modeled as nonlinear fibril-reinforced porous materials with full saturation. The ligaments were considered as anisotropic hyperelastic and reinforced by a fibrillar collagen network. A compressive creep load of ¾ body weight was applied in full extension of the right knee during 200 s standing. Four finite element models were developed to simulate different meniscectomies of the joint using the intact model as the reference for comparison. The modeling results showed a higher load support in the lateral than medial compartment in the intact joint, and the difference in the load share between the compartments was augmented with medial meniscectomy. Similarly, the contact and fluid pressures were higher in the lateral compartment. On the other hand, the medial meniscus in the normal joint experienced more loading than the lateral one. Furthermore, the contact pressure distribution changed with creep, resulting in a load transfer between cartilage and meniscus within each compartment while the total load born by the compartment remained unchanged. This study has quantified the altered contact mechanics on the type and size of meniscectomies, which may be used to understand meniscal tear or support surgical decisions.

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