Simpleware Case Study: Total Hip Replacement Implant Positioning


Implant positioning represents a significant challenge for total hip replacements. Implants need to be well-fitted and positioned within the medullary canal, and should ideally maximize the femoral bone-implant contact area. Experimental testing of implant positions is limited by cost. An alternative is to use computational modelling to comprehensively analyse implant position at an early stage of product development. While this approach is not intended to replace experiments, it can help surgeons to better understand the effect of implant position on primary or secondary stability. Simpleware software and ANSYS were combined to create an automated workflow to integrate a CAD-designed implant into a CT scan of a femur, generating Finite Element (FE) models for micromotion analysis. Simulation results were used to generate response surfaces, demonstrating the effect a change in position can have on micromotion.


  • Integration of CAD implant and CT scan of a femur in Simpleware software
  • Generation of FE mesh in Simpleware software
  • Multiple implant positions/orientations automated through scripting
  • Simulation of implant micromotion in ANSYS Workbench
  • Post-processing of results to generate response surface
  • Prediction of best and worst case scenarios for implant position

Thanks to

Healthcare - ANSYS, Inc.: M. Horner • G. Verma 
University of Southampton: M.T. Bah

Image Processing and CAD Integration

Simpleware ScanIP and Simpleware CAD were used to combine a segmented femur model taken from a CT scan with a CAD-designed implant. An FE mesh was then generated using Simpleware FE and exported to ANSYS Workbench for micromotion simulation. The Simpleware API, employing Python scripting, was used to automate the process of generating multiple implant positions without the need for time-intensive manual adjustments.

Combining a segmented femur with a CAD-designed implant using Simpleware CAD

FE Mesh Generation

FE meshes were generated for each implant position with approximately 10,000 nodes and 38,000 elements for the femur, and approximately 2,000 nodes and 6,000 elements for the implant, which was modelled as titanium. Standard material properties based on the original scan’s Hounsfield units were assigned to the femur using Simpleware software’s automatic mapping algorithm. Node sets were added to simulate constraints and loading conditions for the implant and femur. The mesh was also refined at the implant-bone interface for realistic simulation.

Meshing of femur and implant using Simpleware FE

Stress Analysis & Response Surface Model

The initial FE models were exported to ANSYS Workbench for micromotion simulation based on successful simulations generated from a thousand potential candidates. A Response Surface Model (RSM) was generated by interpolating the 425 successful simulation points with the Kriging regression method.

ANSYS Workbench simulation was then able to use the RSM to determine the implant position that leads to the highest and lowest possible values of micromotion. These results can be interpreted by a surgeon to predict what the best and worst positions are for an implant.

Best position (left) and worst position (right) using ANSYS Workbench

Results: Best/Worst Implant Positions

An automated tool was successfully developed using Simpleware software and ANSYS for combining image data and FEA, with the goal of analysing interactions between the implant and the femur. The use of the response surface methodology enabled insights into the sensitivity of micromotion to positioning.

With feasibility for the tool established, further work might focus on examining multiple implant designs and carrying out analyses on patient populations. The tool therefore has significant applications for surgical planning, in addition to implant R&D.

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about this case study or how to use Simpleware software for your own workflows?