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Case Study: Mechanics of Bacterial Biofilms on Surgical Sutures

Biofilms represent bacterial communities that attach to implanted medical devices such as sutures and catheters. When detached from implants within the body, biofilms can cause chronic infections. This study used Simpleware software to generate image-based microscopic Finite Element (FE) models from confocal laser scanning microscopy scans of real biofilm colonies attached to a surgical suture fragment.

The goal of the study was to predict how suture deformation affects the behaviour of biofilm colonies. The FE method was used to solve continuum mechanics equations for various loading cases in Abaqus, enabling the simulation of the effect of tension, torsion and bending of a biomaterial structure on biofilm movement and detachment.

Thanks to:

National Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS): G. Limbert • P. Stoodley

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust: L. Hall-Stoodley

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: S. Kathju

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