Articular cartilage is a critical component in the movement of one bone against another. It possesses unique chemical properties allowing it to serve as a bearing surface, capable of transferring loads from one bone to another while simultaneously allowing the load bearing surfaces to articulate with low friction. Patient-specific finite element (FE) models incorporating articular cartilage provide insight into articular joint mechanics [1, 2]. To date, the methods/tools available to create accurate FE mesh definitions of the articular cartilage are limited. Semi-automated morphing methods have been developed, but many intermediate steps have to be performed to get the final cartilage mesh definition [3]. Commercially available software [4] is capable of generating tetrahedral/shell/pyramid element based meshes of the cartilage from the underlying bony surface, but hexahedral meshes are preferred over tetrahedral meshes [5]. IA-FEMesh currently provides the ability to project a pre-defined set of elements a uniform distance [6]. This technique has been adopted in several models [1, 2]. Cartilage does not necessarily exist as such; rather the thickness of the cartilage is non-uniform and varies over the surface. Consequently an accurate representation of the articular cartilage is crucial for an accurate contact FE analysis. The goal of this study was to develop an algorithm that will aid in the generation of anatomically accurate cartilage FE mesh definitions in a reliable manner based on patient-specific image data.

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