Exploring thermal anisotropy of cortical bone using temperature measurements in drilling

Khurshid Alam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Bone drilling is widely used in orthopaedics for fracture treatment, reconstructive surgery and bone biopsy. Heat generation in bone drilling can cause rise in bone temperature resulting in prolonged healing time or loosening of fixation. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate thermal anisotropy of bone by measuring the level of temperature in bone drilling with and without cooling conditions in two anatomical directions. METHODS: Drilling tests were performed on bovine cortical bone. A total of fifteen specimens were used to obtain data for statistical analysis. Temperature near the cutting zone was measured in two anatomical directions. i.e. along the longitudinal and circumferential direction. Temperature distribution was also found in the two prescribed directions. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to identify significant drilling parameter affecting bone temperature. RESULTS: Drilling speed, feed rate and drill size were found influential parameters affecting bone temperature. Higher drilling speed, feed rate, and large drill size were found to cause elevated temperature in bone. Much lower temperature was measured in bone when cooling fluid was supplied to the drilling region. Experimental results revealed lower temperatures in the circumferential direction compared to the longitudinal direction. CONCLUSIONS: Thermal anisotropy for heat transport was found in the bone. This study recommends lower drilling speed and feed rate and cooling for controlling rise in bone temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalBio-Medical Materials and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 12 2016


  • bone drilling
  • experimental analysis
  • necrosis
  • Orthopaedic
  • thermocouple

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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