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Effects of Mass Loading on the Viability of Assessing the State of Healing of a Fixated Fractured Long Bone

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Monash University Melbourne Australia

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Introduction This paper aims to evaluate the effects of mass loading on the healing assessment of an internally fixated femur by vibrational means. The presence of soft tissue surrounding a femur increases damping and mass of a system, and hence affects the vibrational response of a mechanical structure by obscuring the coherent modes. This may compromise vibration-based monitoring strategies in identifying modes associated with fracture healing. Methods This paper presents a series of experimental works to address this issue. Two osteotomised composite femurs were internally fixated using a plate-screw system and an intramedullary nail. Soft tissue is approximated by surrounding anartificial Sawbone femur with modelling clay. The femur is excited by an instrumented impact hammer and instrumented with two accelerometers to record bending and torsion modes between 0 and 600Hz. A 30-min epoxy was applied to simulate the healing of the fractured femur in the osteotomised region. The resonant frequencies and its modes are monitored while union is being formed and a healing index is calculated at various times to quantify the degree of healing. Results The results demonstrate that the effect of modelling clay compressed the natural modes along the frequency axis. It is observed that frequency bandwidth in the vicinity of 150Hz and 500Hz is sensitive to the state of healing of the fixated femurs, which is due to the increase in stiffness of the osteotomised region. These findings were used to formulate the healing index which assists in identifying the initial, later and complete healing stages in conjunction with the index derivative. Conclusion In this study, a two-sensor measurement strategy to quantify fixated femur healing is investigated. It is shown that the mass loading effect did not affect this vibrational analysis method ability to assess the state of healing, and both coherent bending and twisting modes associated with healing were easily identified.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Mechanics

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