A biochemical/biophysical 3D FE intervertebral disc model

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Present research focuses on different strategies to preserve the degenerated disc. To assure long-term success of novel approaches, favorable mechanical conditions in the disc tissue are essential. To evaluate these, a model is required that can determine internal mechanical conditions which cannot be directly measured as a function of assessable biophysical characteristics. Therefore, the objective is to evaluate if constitutive and material laws acquired on isolated samples of nucleus and annulus tissue can be used directly in a whole-organ 3D FE model to describe intervertebral disc behavior. The 3D osmo-poro-visco-hyper-elastic disc (OVED) model describes disc behavior as a function of annulus and nucleus tissue biochemical composition, organization and specific constituent properties. The description of the 3D collagen network was enhanced to account for smaller fibril structures. Tissue mechanical behavior tests on isolated nucleus and annulus samples were simulated with models incorporating tissue composition to calculate the constituent parameter values. The obtained constitutive laws were incorporated into the whole-organ model. The overall behavior and disc properties of the model were corroborated against in vitro creep experiments of human L4/L5 discs. The OVED model simulated isolated tissue experiments on confined compression and uniaxial tensile test and whole-organ disc behavior. This was possible, provided that secondary fiber structures were accounted for. The fair agreement (radial bulge, axial creep deformation and intradiscal pressure) between model and experiment was obtained using constitutive properties that are the same for annulus and nucleus. Both tissue models differed in the 3D OVED model only by composition. The composition-based modeling presents the advantage of reducing the numbers of material parameters to a minimum and to use tissue composition directly as input. Hence, this approach provides the possibility to describe internal mechanical conditions of the disc as a function of assessable biophysical characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-650
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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