Dental traumatology : official publication of International Association for Dental Traumatology

Assessment of nose protector for sport activities: finite element analysis.

PMID 21790992


There has been a significant increase in the number of facial fractures stemming from sport activities in recent years, with the nasal bone one of the most affected structures. Researchers recommend the use of a nose protector, but there is no standardization regarding the material employed. Clinical experience has demonstrated that a combination of a flexible and rigid layer of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) offers both comfort and safety to practitioners of sports. The aim of the present study was the investigation into the stresses generated by the impact of a rigid body on the nasal bone on models with and without an EVA protector. For such, finite element analysis was employed. A craniofacial model was constructed from images obtained through computed tomography. The nose protector was modeled with two layers of EVA (1 mm of rigid EVA over 2 mm of flexible EVA), following the geometry of the soft tissue. Finite element analysis was performed using the LS Dyna program. The bone and rigid EVA were represented as elastic linear material, whereas the soft tissues and flexible EVA were represented as hyperelastic material. The impact from a rigid sphere on the frontal region of the face was simulated with a constant velocity of 20 m s(-1) for 9.1 μs. The model without the protector served as the control. The distribution of maximal stress of the facial bones was recorded. The maximal stress on the nasal bone surpassed the breaking limit of 0.13-0.34 MPa on the model without a protector, while remaining below this limit on the model with the protector. Thus, the nose protector made from both flexible and rigid EVA proved effective at protecting the nasal bones under high-impact conditions.