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Heat Transfer in Intramedullary Rod in Tibia on Cold Day©

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Abstract

Many patients with orthopedic implants complain of pain associated with cold temperatures. This study aims to investigate how the temperature of the tissue in the lower leg is affected by the presence of a metal implant on a cold day. Two bioheat transfer models were made using eccentric cones and cylindrical solids to create our domain of interest, the region from the popliteal crease of the knee to the lateral malleolus at the ankle; the dimensions were based on average values for a 20 year old male, which was the demographic that most commonly received this implant [1]. The applicable parameters for modeling include heat conductivity, density, specific heat, and heat transfer coefficient. One model included a stainless steel rod placed in the medullary cavity of the tibia. The other model, which contains no implant, was used as a control. The models contain three boundary conditions: two thermal insulation boundaries at the top and bottom of the model, and a convective heat flux for the skin in contact with environmental air. The temperature profile of the lower leg was obtained in the model through a parasagittal cut plane evaluated 120 minutes after being exposed to an external temperature of 4.45°C. After running the model with a fine mesh (being the ideal mesh size) three points were taken just below the skin on the anterior side of the leg where thermoreceptors are located. The temperature vs. time graphs were evaluated at the three points between the two models, which found the temperature graph to be lower for the model with the implant. The temperature difference has a maximum of 0.33°C which, although slight, may stimulate the sensitive thermoreceptors that cause the perception of cool sensation. Sensitivity of the result to uncertainty was analyzed through varying the thermal conductivity of the rod’s stainless steel, convective heat transfer coefficient for the convective boundary condition, blood perfusion rates, and metabolic rates. The overall uncertainty of the cut-point temperature was found to be 4.68℃. Due to uncertainties in the blood flow, it is difficult to offer strong conclusions since this uncertainty is greater than the difference in temperatures with and without the implant. Our results do suggest, however, that the implant will not significantly affect the perception of cold sensation and that cold temperatures in the tissue surrounding the implant are unlikely to be the source of reported pain.

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2024-05-17

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Heat Transfer; Tibial Implant; Modeling; Lower Extremities; Intramedullary Rod

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Government Document

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Attribution 4.0 International

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report

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