Biological systems are characterized by high levels of variability, which can affect the results of biomechanical analyses. As a review of this topic, we first surveyed levels of variation in materials relevant to biomechanics, and compared these values to standard engineered materials. As expected, we found significantly higher levels of variation in biological materials. A meta-analysis was then performed based on thorough reviews of 60 research studies from the field of biomechanics to assess the methods and manner in which biological variation is currently handled in our field. The results of our meta-analysis revealed interesting trends in modeling practices, and suggest a need for more biomechanical studies that fully incorporate biological variation in biomechanical models and analyses. Finally, we provide some case study example of how biological variability may provide valuable insights or lead to surprising results. The purpose of this study is to promote the advancement of biomechanics research by encouraging broader treatment of biological variability in biomechanical modeling.
- Biological variation
- Sensitivity analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine