Field Distributions in the Rat Tibia with and without a Porous Implant During Electrical Stimulation: A Parametric Modeling

Paul Ducheyne, Lisa Yost Ellis, Solomon R. Pollack, David Pienkowski, John M. Cuckler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Expeditious post-operative ingrowth of bone is necessary for clinically successful fixation of porous joint prostheses. Electrical or electromagnetic fields to stimulate bone growth into porous implants have been used; however, they produced nonconvincing data. This was partially attributable to the lack of quantification of the localized electric fields produced in the pores of the implants. Therefore, this study set out: i) to quantify the local electric field values induced into the surface pores of nonconducting implants by “capacitive” coupling and to determine the magnitude of the macroscopically applied capacitively coupled electrical currents to induce specific electric field amplitudes in the pores, ii) to identify the important dielectric properties of the implant-tissue interface, and iii) to create the basis for successfully applying electrical fields in an animal model to stimulate bone ingrowth. A finite element method was used to calculate the electric field gradients and current densities present in a rat tibia modeled with a porous intramedullary implant when capacitively stimulated. Results indicated that while the current density in the pores are reduced in comparison to the region just outside the pore by about one order of magnitude, a significant current density still exists in the pore region. Furthermore, the presence of the implant increases the current densities in the trabecular bone while decreasing these values in the cortical bone. Replacing the trabecular bone in the pore by saline increases the current density in the pore by three-fold, but decreases the voltage gradient by a similar factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1168-1178
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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