Development of subject-specific and statistical shape models of the knee using an efficient segmentation and mesh-morphing approach

Mark A. Baldwin, Joseph E. Langenderfer, Paul J. Rullkoetter, Peter J. Laz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Subject-specific finite element models developed from imaging data provide functional representation of anatomical structures and have been used to evaluate healthy and pathologic knee mechanics. The creation of subject-specific models is a time-consuming process when considering manual segmentation and hexahedral (hex) meshing of the articular surfaces to ensure accurate contact assessment. Previous studies have emphasized automated mesh mapping to bone geometry from computed tomography (CT) scans, but have not considered cartilage and soft tissue structures. Statistical shape modeling has been proposed as an alternative approach to develop a population of subject models, but still requires manual segmentation and registration of a training set. Accordingly, the aim of the current study was to develop an efficient, integrated mesh-morphing-based segmentation approach to create hex meshes of subject-specific geometries from scan data, to apply the approach to natural femoral, tibial, and patellar cartilage from magnetic resonance (MR) images, and to demonstrate the creation of a statistical shape model of the knee characterizing the modes of variation using principal component analysis. The platform was demonstrated on MR scans from 10 knees and enabled hex mesh generation of the knee articular structures in approximately 1.5 h per subject. In a subset of geometries, average root mean square geometric differences were 0.54 mm for all structures and in quasi-static analyses over a range of flexion angles, differences in predicted peak contact pressures were less than 5.3% between the semi-automated and manually generated models. The integrated segmentation, mesh-morphing approach was employed in the efficient development of subject-specific models and a statistical shape model, where populations of subject-specific models have application to implant design evaluation or surgical planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Articular cartilage
  • Finite element
  • Knee mechanics
  • Mesh morphing
  • Segmentation
  • Statistical shape model
  • Subject-specific model


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