The aim of this article is to investigate the effect of two different fixation hardware materials on bone remodeling after a mandibular reconstruction surgery and to restore the mandible’s function, healthy appearance, mastication, swallowing, breathing, and speech. The hypothesis is that using fixation hardware with stiffness close to that of the surrounding bone will result in a more successful healing process in the mandible bone.
The finite element model includes the material properties and forces of the cancellous bone, cortical bone, ligaments, muscles, and teeth. The reconstruction surgery is modeled by including the fixation hardware and the grafted bone. In the sectioned mandible, to best mimic the geometry of the mandible, two single barrel grafts are placed at the top of each other to form a double barrel graft set. Two different materials were used as the mandibular fixation parts, stiff Ti-6Al-4V, and porous superelastic Nickel-Titanium (NiTi) alloys.
A comparison of these two alloys demonstrates that using porous NiTi alloy as the fixation part results in a faster healing pace. Furthermore, the density distribution in the mandibular bone after the healing process is more similar to the normal mandible density distribution.
The simulations results indicate that the porous superelastic NiTi fixation hardware transfers and distributes the existing forces on the mandible bone more favorably. The probability of stress shielding and/or stress concentration decrease. This type of fixation hardware, therefore, is more appropriate for mandible bone reconstruction surgery.