The influence of artificial nucleus pulposus replacement on stress distribution in the cartilaginous endplate in a 3-dimensional finite element model of the lumbar intervertebral disc

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Abstract

Objective:

This study aimed to investigate the effects involved with the artificial nucleus pulposus (NP) replacement on stress distribution of the cartilaginous endplate (CEP) in a 3-dimensional lumbar intervertebral disc (IVD) model using a finite element (FE) analysis.

Methods:

A healthy male volunteer was recruited for the purposes of the study and a spiral computed tomography scan was subsequently conducted to obtain the data information in relation to the L4/5 motion segment. An FE model of the L4/5 motion segment constructed, on the basis of which degenerative IVD, IVD with NP removal, and IVD with NP replacement were in turn built. The stress distribution of the CEP and bulging of IVD were estimated using various motion states, including axial loading, forward flexion, backward extension, left axial rotation, and right axial rotation.

Results:

Under different motion states, the vertebral stress was higher in the degenerative IVD, the IVD with NP removal, and the IVD with NP replacement, in comparison to that of the normal IVD. Furthermore, a higher vertebral stress was detected in the degenerative IVD than the IVD with NP removal and the IVD with NP replacement. An even distribution of vertebral stress was observed in the IVD model with an artificial NP replacement, while the vertebral stress and bulging displacement were lower than after NP removal. Our findings provided confirmation that stress of the CEP was consistent with the vertebral stress.

Conclusion:

This study provided evidence suggesting that NP replacement, vertebral stress, and bulging displacement are lower than that of degenerative IVD and IVD with NP removal under different motion states.

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