[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data on the stiffnesses of spinal ligaments are required for analytical studies on the mechanical behavior of spinal segments. Values obtained experimentally vary widely in the literature. A finite element model of an L3/L4 functional spinal unit was used to determine the influence of ligament stiffness on intersegmental rotation and forces in the ligaments. The lowest values for ligament stiffness selected from the literature were used in one set of calculations, and the highest values were simulated in a second set. The nonlinear model was loaded with pure moments of 7.5 and 15 Nm in the three main anatomical planes. The mechanical behavior of the functional spinal unit was strongly influenced by ligament stiffness. In some cases, a ligament with low stiffness does not carry any load, while the same ligament with high stiffness has to carry a high load. This indicates that finite element models of spinal segments have to be validated and that a realistic quantitative prediction of ligament forces is extremely difficult.
Journal of Biomechanics 08/2004; 37(7):1107-11. · 2.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A nonlinear finite element program has been developed and applied to the analysis of a three-dimensional model of the lumbar L2-3 motion segment subjected to sagittal plane moments. The analysis accounts for both material and geometric nonlinearities and is based on the Updated Lagrangian approach. The disc nucleus has been considered as an incompressible inviscid fluid and the annulus as a composite of collagenous fibres embedded in a matrix of ground substance. Articulation at the facet joints has been treated as a general moving contact problem and the spinal ligaments have been modelled as a collection of nonlinear axial elements. Effects of the loss of intradiscal pressure in flexion and of facetectomy in extension have been analyzed. Comparison of the predicted gross response characteristics with available measurements indicates satisfactory agreement. In flexion relatively large intradiscal pressures are generated, while in extension negative pressures (i.e. suction) of low magnitude are predicted. The stress distribution results indicate that the load transfer path through the posterior elements of the joint in flexion is different from that in extension. In flexion the ligaments are the means of load transfer, while in extension the load is transmitted through the pedicles, laminae and articular processes. In flexion, the inner annulus fibres at the posterolateral location are subject to maximum tensile strain. It is suggested that large flexion moment in combination with other loads is a likely cause of disc prolapse commonly found at this location of the annulus.
Journal of Biomechanics 02/1986; 19(4):331-50. · 2.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many investigators have performed studies on specific defect situations or determined the contribution on isolated structures. Investigating the contribution of functional structures requires obtaining the kinematic response directly on spinal segments. The purpose of this study was to quantify the function of anatomical components on lumbar segments for different loading magnitudes. Eight spinal segments (L4-5) with a median age of 52 years (ranging from 38 to 59 years) and a low degree of disc degeneration were utilized for the in vitro testing. Specimens were mounted in a custom-built spine tester and loaded with pure moments (1-10 N m) to move within three anatomical planes at a loading rate of 1.0 degrees /s. Anatomy was successively reduced by: ligaments, facet capsules, joints and nucleus. Data were evaluated for range of motion, neutral zone and lordosis angle. Transection of posterior ligaments predominantly increased specimen flexion for all bending moments applied. Supraspinous ligament also indicated to resist in extension slightly, whereas the facet capsules did not. Facet joints contributed to axial rotation, but not in lateral bending. The anterior longitudinal ligament was found to slightly resist in axial rotation, but strongly in extension. Nucleotomy caused largest increase of all movements. The unloaded posture of the specimens changed after ligament dissection, indicating ligament pretension. The region of lumbar spine is interesting for finite element (FE) simulation due to the high evidence of disc degeneration and injuries. This study may help to understand the function of specific anatomical structures and assists in FE model calibration. We suggest to start a calibration procedure for such models with the smallest functional structure (annulus) and to cumulatively add further structures.
Journal of Biomechanics 02/2007; 40(2):271-80. · 2.72 Impact Factor
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