Voxel-based approach to generate entire human metacarpal bone with microscopic architecture for finite element analysis

Chak Yin Tang, Chi Pong Tsui, Yuk Ming Tang, L. Wei, C. T. Wong, K. W. Lam, W. Y. Ip, W. W.J. Lu, Marco Yiu Chung Pang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


With the development of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) technology, it is possible to construct three-dimensional (3D) models of human bone without destruction of samples and predict mechanical behavior of bone using finite element analysis (FEA). However, due to large number of elements required for constructing the FE models of entire bone, this demands a substantial computational effort and the analysis usually needs a high level of computer. In this article, a voxel-based approach for generation of FE models of entire bone with microscopic architecture from micro-CT image data is proposed. To enable the FE analyses of entire bone to be run even on a general personal computer, grayscale intensity thresholds were adopted to reduce the amount of elements. Human metacarpal bone (MCP) bone was used as an example for demonstrating the applicability of the proposed method. The micro-CT images of the MCP bone were combined and converted into 3D array of pixels. Dual grayscale intensity threshold parameters were used to distinguish the pixels of bone tissues from those of surrounding soft tissues and improve predictive accuracy for the FE analyses with different sizes of elements. The method of selecting an appropriate value of the second grayscale intensity threshold was also suggested to minimize the area error for the reconstructed cross-sections of a FE structure. Experimental results showed that the entire FE MCP bone with microscopic architecture could be modeled and analyzed on a personal computer with reasonable accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1484
Number of pages16
JournalBio-Medical Materials and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • finite element model
  • grayscale intensity threshold
  • human metacarpal bone
  • micro-computed tomography (micro-CT)
  • microscopic architecture
  • Voxel-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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