Analysis of Cartilage-Polydioxanone Foil Composite Grafts
10 December 2013 (online)
This study presents an analytical investigation into the mechanical behavior of a cartilage-polydioxanone (PDS) plate composite grafts. Numerical methods are used to provide a first-order, numerical model of the flexural stiffness of a cartilage-PDS graft. Flexural stiffness is a measure of resistance to bending and is inversely related to the amount of deformation a structure may experience when subjected to bending forces. The cartilage-PDS graft was modeled as a single composite beam. Using Bernoulli-Euler beam theory, a closed form equation for the theoretical flexural stiffness of the composite graft was developed. A parametric analysis was performed to see how the flexural properties of the composite model changed with varying thicknesses of PDS foil. The stiffness of the cartilage-PDS composite using 0.15-mm-thick PDS was four times higher than cartilage alone. The composite with a 0.5-mm-thick PDS graft was only 1.7 times stiffer than the composite with the 0.15-mm-thick PDS graft. Although a thicker graft material will yield higher flexural stiffness for the composite, the relationship between composite stiffness and PDS thickness is nonlinear. After a critical point, increments in graft thickness produce gradually smaller improvements in flexural stiffness. The small increase in stiffness when using the thicker PDS foils versus the 0.15 mm PDS foil may not be worth the potential complications (prolonged foreign body reaction, reduction in nutrient diffusion to cartilage) of using thicker artificial grafts.