Bone cutting is widely used in orthopaedic, dental and neuro surgeries and is a technically demanding surgical procedure. Novel surgical methods are continually introduced in orthopaedic, neuro and dental surgeries and are aimed at minimising the invasiveness of the operation and allowing more precise cuts. One such method that utilises cutting with superimposed ultrasonic vibration is known as ultrasonically- assisted cutting (UAC). The main concern in bone cutting is the mechanical and thermal damage to the bone tissue induced by high-speed power tools. Recent technological improvements are concerned with the efforts to decrease the force required by the surgeon when cutting the bone as well as increases in surgery speed.
A programme of experiments was conducted to characterise properties of a bone and get a basic understanding of the mechanics of bone cutting. The experiments included: (a) nanonindentation and tension tests to obtain the properties for the finite element (FE) bone cutting model, (b) high-speed filming to observe the chip formation process, which influences thermomechanics of the cutting process in conventional drilling (CD) and ultrasonically-assisted drilling (UAD) and, (c) plane cutting and drilling experiments to measure the levels of force and temperature rise in the bone tissue.
Novel two-dimensional finite element (FE) models of cortical bone cutting were developed for conventional and ultrasonically-assisted modes with the MSC.MARC general FE code that provided thorough numerical analysis of thermomechanics of the cutting process. Mechanical properties such as the elastic modulus and strain-rate sensitivity of the bone material were determined experimentally and incorporated into the FE models. The influence of cutting parameters on the levels of stress, penetration force and temperature in the bone material was studied using conventional cutting (CC) and ultrasonically-assisted cutting (UAC). The temperature rise in the bone material near the cutting edge was calculated and the effect of cutting parameters on the level of thermal necrosis was analysed. The necrosis depth in bone was calculated as a distance from the cut surface to the point where the thermal threshold level was attained. Comparative studies were performed for the developed FE models of CC and UAC of bone and the results validated by conducting experiments and using data from scientific publications.
The main outcome of the thesis is an in-depth understanding of the bone cutting process, and of its possible application in orthopaedics. Recommendations on further research developments are also suggested.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.