Computer Simulation of Lumbar Spine Function

J. Sumec, M. Sokol (Slovak Republic), and J. Jíra (Czech Republic)


Spine, Intervertebral Disc, FEM Modeling, Vertebrae


An understanding of the mechanical response of the lumbar human spine is pertinent to numerous medical problems. Among these are pathogenesis of the lumbar discs-segments degeneration, effects of vertebral arthrodesis, endplate fractures during pilot ejection, effects of the short-time dynamical loadings in special working processes or some types of sports activities, disc replacement and development and correction of spinal deformities. The human spine represents a complex columnar in space curved structure occurring in the "delicate" equilibrium state. In the diseased (or injured) state this equilibrium is disturbed. Low back pain presents one of such disturbance. Since mechanical factors play a significant role in the onset of low back pain, in vitro biomechanical studies may be undertaken to provide a basic understanding of the proportional resistance offered by the various spinal elements in response to external loading. This contribution deals with biomechanical modeling of the human lumbar spine. The study of the stress strain distributions, deflections and stiffness of segments L1-L5 under statical loads is presented. The technique of the biomechanical modeling is described and 3D FEM of spine segment is used.

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