Assessing the Performance Characteristics and Clinical Forces in Simulated Shape Memory Bone Staple Surgical Procedure: The Significance of SMA Material Model

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Computers in Biology and Medicine


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. This work is focused on the detailed computer simulation of the key stages involved in a shape memory alloy (SMA) osteosynthesis bone stapling procedure. To this end, a recently developed three-dimensional constitutive SMA material model was characterized from test data of three simple uniaxial-isothermal-tension experiments for powder metallurgically processed nickel-rich NiTi (PM/NiTi-P) material. The calibrated model was subsequently used under the complex, thermomechanical loading conditions involved in the surgical procedure using the body-temperature-activated PM/NiTi-P bone staple. Our aim here is to assess the immediate and post-surgical performance characteristics of the stapling operation using the material model. From this study: (1) it was found that adequate compressive forces were developed by the PM/NiTi-P bone staple, with the tendency of this force to even increase under sustained thermal loading due to the intrinsic "inverse relaxation phenomena" in the SMA material, (2) the simulation results correlated well with those from experimental measurements, (3) the body-temperature-activated PM/NiTi-P staple was proved to be clinically viable, providing a stable clamping force needed for speedy coaptation of the fractured bones, and (4) these realistic assessments crucially depend on the use of suitable and comprehensive SMA material models.