With the introduction of high-speed cutting tools, clinicians have recognized the potential for thermal damage to the material being cut. Here, we developed a mathematical model of heat transfer caused by drilling bones of different densities and validated it with respect to experimentally measured temperatures in bone. We then coupled these computational results with a biological assessment of cell death following osteotomy site preparation. Parameters under clinical control, e.g., drill diameter, rotational speed, and irrigation, along with patient-specific variables such as bone density were evaluated in order to understand their contributions to thermal damage. Predictions from our models provide insights into temperatures and thresholds that cause osteocyte death and that can ultimately compromise stability of an implant.

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