Article

Modelling creep behaviour of the human intervertebral disc.

VU University Medical Centre, Department of Physics and Medical Technology, The Netherlands. Electronic address: .
Journal of Biomechanics (Impact Factor: 2.5). 06/2013; 46(12). DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.05.026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mechanical behaviour of an intervertebral disc is time dependent. In literature different constitutive equations have been used to describe creep. It is unsure whether these different approaches yield valid predictions. In this study, we compared the validity of different equations for the prediction of creep behaviour. To this end, human thoracic discs were preloaded at 0.1MPa for 12h, compressed (0.8MPa) for 24h and finally unloaded (0.1MPa) for 24h. A Kohlrausch-Williams-Watts (KWW) model and a Double-Voight (DV) model were fitted to the creep data. Model parameters were calculated for test durations of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24h. Both models described the measured data well, but parameters were highly sensitive to test duration. The estimated time constant varied with test duration from 3.6 to 17h. When extrapolating beyond test duration, the DV model under-estimated and the KWW model over-estimated creep. The 24h experiment was still too short for an accurate determination of the parameters. Therefore, parameters obtained in this paper can be used to describe normal behaviour, but are not suitable for extrapolation beyond the test duration.

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    ABSTRACT: Intervertebral discs exhibit time-dependent deformation (creep), which could influence the relation between applied stress and intradiscal pressure. This study investigates the effect of prolonged dynamic loading on intradiscal pressure, disc height and compressive stiffness, and examines their mutual relationships. Fifteen caprine lumbar discs with 5 mm of vertebral bone on either side were compressed by 1 Hz sinusoidal load for 4.5 h. After preload, 'High' (130 +/- A 20 N) or 'Low' (50 +/- A 10 N) loads were alternated every half hour. Continuous intradiscal pressure measurement was performed with a pressure transducer needle. Each disc showed a linear relationship between axial compression and intradiscal pressure (R (2) > 0.91). The intercept of linear regression analysis declined over time, but the gradient remained constant. Disc height changes were correlated to intradiscal pressure changes (R (2) > 0.98): both decreased during High loading, and increased during Low loading. In contrast, compressive stiffness increased during High loading, and was inversely related to intradiscal pressure and disc height. Intradiscal pressure is influenced by recent loading due to fluid flow. The correlations found in this study suggest that intradiscal pressure is important for disc height and axial compliance. These findings are relevant for mechanobiology studies, nucleus replacements, finite element models, and ex vivo organ culture systems.
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