A Contemporary Approach to Non-Invasive 3D Determination of Individual Masticatory Muscle Forces: A Proof of Concept

Bram B.J. Merema*, Jelbrich J. Sieswerda, Frederik K.L. Spijkervet, Joep Kraeima, Max J.H. Witjes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past decade, the demand for three-dimensional (3D) patient-specific (PS) modelling and simulations has increased considerably; they are now widely available and generally accepted as part of patient care. However, the patient specificity of current PS designs is often limited to this patient-matched fit and lacks individual mechanical aspects, or parameters, that conform to the specific patient’s needs in terms of biomechanical acceptance. Most biomechanical models of the mandible, e.g., finite element analyses (FEA), often used to design reconstructive implants or total joint replacement devices for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), make use of a literature-based (mean) simplified muscular model of the masticatory muscles. A muscle’s cross-section seems proportionally related to its maximum contractile force and can be multiplied by an intrinsic strength constant, which previously has been calculated to be a constant of 37 [N/cm2]. Here, we propose a contemporary method to determine the patient-specific intrinsic strength value of the elevator mouth-closing muscles. The hypothesis is that patient-specific individual mandible elevator muscle forces can be approximated in a non-invasive manner. MRI muscle delineation was combined with bite force measurements and 3D-FEA to determine PS intrinsic strength values. The subject-specific intrinsic strength values were 40.6 [N/cm2] and 25.6 [N/cm2] for the 29- and 56-year-old subjects, respectively. Despite using a small cohort in this proof of concept study, we show that there is great variation between our subjects’ individual muscular intrinsic strength. This variation, together with the difference between our individual results and those presented in the literature, emphasises the value of our patient-specific muscle modelling and intrinsic strength determination protocol to ensure accurate biomechanical analyses and simulations. Furthermore, it suggests that average muscular models may only be sufficiently accurate for biomechanical analyses at a macro-scale level. A future larger cohort study will put the patient-specific intrinsic strength values in perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1273
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personalized medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2022


  • 3D-VSP
  • biomechanical
  • bite force
  • custom
  • FEA
  • finite element analysis
  • intrinsic strength
  • jaw
  • mandible
  • masticatory
  • muscle delineation
  • muscle force
  • patient-specific

Cite this