The finite element (FE) model of the pelvic joint is helpful for clinical diagnosis and treatment of pelvic injuries. However, the effect of an FE model boundary condition on the biomechanical behavior of a pelvic joint has not been well studied. The objective of this study was to study the effect of boundary condition on the pelvic biomechanics predictions. A 3D FE model of a pelvis using subject-specific estimates of intact bone structures, main ligaments and bone material anisotropy by computed tomography (CT) gray value was developed and validated by bone surface strains obtained from rosette strain gauges in an in vitro pelvic experiment. Then three FE pelvic models were constructed to analyze the effect of boundary condition, corresponding to an intact pelvic joint, a pelvic joint without sacroiliac ligaments and a pelvic joint without proximal femurs, respectively. Vertical load was applied to the same pelvis with a fixed prosthetic femoral stem and the same load was simulated in the FE model. A strong correlation coefficient (R2=0.9657) was calculated, which indicated a strong correlation between the FE analysis and experimental results. The effect of boundary condition changes on the biomechanical response depended on the anatomical location and structure of the pelvic joint. It was found that acetabulum fixed in all directions with the femur removed can increase the stress distribution on the acetabular inner plate (approximately double the original values) and decrease that on the superior of pubis (from 7 MPa to 0.6 MPa). Taking sacrum and ilium as a whole, instead of sacroiliac and iliolumber ligaments, can influence the stress distribution on ilium and pubis bone vastly. These findings suggest pelvic biomechanics is very dependent on the boundary condition in the FE model.

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