The subject of this article is the development and application of computer-simulation methods to predict stress-related adaptive bone remodeling, in accordance with ‘Wolff's Law’. These models are based on the Finite Element Method (FEM) in combination with numerical formulations of adaptive bone-remodeling theories.
In the adaptive remodeling models presented, the Strain Energy Density (SED) is used as a feed-back control variable to determine shape or bone density adaptations to alternative functional requirements, whereby homeostatic SED distribution is assumed as the remodeling objective.
These models are applied to investigate the relation between ‘stress shielding’ and bone resorption in the femoral cortex around intramedullary prostheses, such as used in Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA). It is shown that the amount of bone resorption depends mainly on the rigidity and the bonding characteristics of the implant. Homeostatic SED can be obtained when the resorption process occurs at the periosteal surface, rather than inside the cortex, provided that the stem is adequately flexible.