A numerical model of the fracture healing process that describes tissue development and revascularisation

Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2011;14(1):79-93. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2010.499865. Epub 2010 Nov 1.


A dynamic model was developed to simulate complex interactions of mechanical stability, revascularisation and tissue differentiation in secondary fracture healing. Unlike previous models, blood perfusion was included as a spatio-temporal state variable to simulate the revascularisation process. A 2D, axisymmetrical finite element model described fracture callus mechanics. Fuzzy logic rules described the following biological processes: angiogenesis, intramembranous ossification, chondrogenesis, cartilage calcification and endochondral ossification, all of which depended on local strain state and local blood perfusion. In order to evaluate how the predicted revascularisation depended on the mechanical environment, we simulated two different healing cases according to two groups of transverse metatarsal osteotomies in sheep with different axial stability. The model predicted slower revascularisation and delayed bony bridging for the less stable case, which corresponded well to the experimental observations. A revascularisation sensitivity analysis demonstrated the potential of the model to account for different conditions regarding the blood supply.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fracture Healing*
  • Fuzzy Logic
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Stress, Mechanical