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Biomechanical Prediction of Veins and Soft Tissues beneath Compression Stockings Using Fluid-Solid Interaction Model

Authors: Rong Liu, Chongyang Ye


Elastic compression stockings (ECSs) have been widely applied in prophylaxis and treatment of chronic venous insufficiency of lower extremities. The medical function of ECS is to improve venous return and increase muscular pumping action to facilitate blood circulation, which is largely determined by the complex interaction between the ECS and lower limb tissues. Understanding the mechanical transmission of ECS along the skin surface, deeper tissues, and vascular system is essential to assess the effectiveness of the ECSs. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) model of the leg-ECS system integrated with a 3D fluid-solid interaction (FSI) model of the leg-vein system was constructed to analyze the biomechanical properties of veins and soft tissues under different ECS compression. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the human leg was divided into three regions, including soft tissues, bones (tibia and fibula) and veins (peroneal vein, great saphenous vein, and small saphenous vein). The ECSs with pressure ranges from 15 to 26 mmHg (Classes I and II) were adopted in the developed FE-FSI model. The soft tissue was assumed as a Neo-Hookean hyperelastic model with the fixed bones, and the ECSs were regarded as an orthotropic elastic shell. The interfacial pressure and stress transmission were simulated by the FE model, and venous hemodynamics properties were simulated by the FSI model. The experimental validation indicated that the simulated interfacial pressure distributions were in accordance with the pressure measurement results. The developed model can be used to predict interfacial pressure, stress transmission, and venous hemodynamics exerted by ECSs and optimize the structure and materials properties of ECSs design, thus improving the efficiency of compression therapy.

Keywords: fluid-solid interaction, prediction, elastic compression stockings, tissue and vein properties

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