The effect of varying the stiffness of spinal fusion devices on the adjacent levels using multibody dynamics simulation

  • INTRODUCTION Several clinical studies demonstrated long-term adjacent-level effects after implantation of spinal fusion devices[1]. These effects have been reported as adjacent joint degeneration and the development of new symptoms correlating with adjacent segment degeneration[2] and the trend has therefore gone to motion preservation devices; however, these effects have not been understood very well and have not been investigated thoroughly[3]. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of varying the stiffness of spinal fusion devices on the adjacent vertebral levels. Disc forces, moments and facet joint forces were analyzed. METHODS The AnyBody Modeling System was used to compute the in-vivo muscle and joint reaction forces of a musculoskeletal model. The full body model used in this study consists of 188 muscle fascicles in the lumbar spine and more than 1000 individual muscle branches in total. The model has been proposed by de Zee et al.[3], validated by Rasmussen et al.[4] and by Galibarov et al.[5]. The new model[5] determines the individual motions between vertebrae based on the equilibrium between forces acting on the vertebrae from muscles and joints and the passive stiffness in disks and ligaments, figure 1a. An adult of 1.75 m and 75 kg with a spinal implant in L4L5 was modeled. This model was subjected to a flexion-extension motion using different elastic moduli to analyze and compare to a non-implanted scenario. The analyzed variables were vertebral motion, the disc reaction forces and moments, as well as facet joint forces in the treated and the adjacent levels: L2L3, L3L4, L4L5 and L5-Sacrum. RESULTS When introducing a spinal fusion device in the L4L5 joint the reaction forces and moments decreased in this joint with stiffer devices leading to lower joint loads. However, in the adjacent joints, L3L4 and L5Sacrum, an increase was observed when implanting stiffer devices. Similar trends could be found for the L2L3 joint. The loads in the facet joints showed the same trends. While introducing a spinal fusion device reduced the facet joint forces in the treated joint, the loads in the adjacent facet joints were increased according to the stiffness of the implanted device, figure 1b. DISCUSSION While the treated disc joint showed reduced motion and loads, the adjacent levels demonstrated a significant increase. In particular, the increased facet joint forces in the adjacent levels can lead to adjacent level facet pain or accelerated facet joint degeneration. Introducing a device resulted in preventing facet contact and therefore facet joint loads, even using the device with the lowest stiffness. CONCLUSION The presented model shows that clinical complications such as facet joint degeneration in adjacent levels after implantation of spinal fusion device are consistent with the change in the mechanical-stimulus distribution in the system.

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Author:Pavel E. Galibarov, Amir Andreas Al-Munajjed, Sebastian DendorferORCiD, Soeren Toerholm Christensen, John Rasmussen
Parent Title (English):Orthopaedic Proceedings
Document Type:conference proceeding (article)
Year of first Publication:2011
Release Date:2021/01/14
Issue:SUPP_XL01 Sep 2012
First Page:2
Konferenzangabe:International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty (ISTA), 24th annual congress, 20-23 Sep., 2011, Brügge/Bruges, Belgium
Institutes:Fakultät Maschinenbau
Regensburg Center of Biomedical Engineering - RCBE
Labor Biomechanik - LBM
Publication:Externe Publikationen