Finite element modelling of the pelvis: inclusion of muscular and ligamentous boundary conditions

Med Eng Phys. 2007 Sep;29(7):739-48. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2006.08.010. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Previous finite element studies of the pelvis, including subject-specific studies have made extensive simplifications with regards to the boundary conditions used during analysis. Fixed boundary conditions are generally utilised at the pubis and superior part of the ilium. While it can be demonstrated that these models provide a close match for certain in vitro experiments that use similar boundary conditions, the resulting stress-strain fields in the cortex in particular are unlikely to be those found in vivo. This study presents a finite element analysis in which the pelvis is supported by muscular and ligamentous boundary conditions, applied using spring elements distributed over realistic attachment sites. The analysis is compared to an analysis in which the pelvis is restrained by fixed boundary conditions applied at the sacro-iliac joints. Striking differences in the stress-strain fields observed in cortical bone in particular, are found between the two analyses. The inclusion of muscular and ligamentous boundary conditions is found to lower the occurrence of stress concentrations within the cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Elasticity
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Ligaments / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pelvic Bones / physiology*
  • Pelvis / physiology*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tendons / physiology*