, Volume 21, Issue 5 Supplement, pp 653-662,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Nov 2009

Do design variations in the artificial disc influence cervical spine biomechanics? A finite element investigation

Abstract

Various ball and socket-type designs of cervical artificial discs are in use or under investigation. Many artificial disc designs claim to restore the normal kinematics of the cervical spine. What differentiates one type of design from another design is currently not well understood. In this study, authors examined various clinically relevant parameters using a finite element model of C3–C7 cervical spine to study the effects of variations of ball and socket disc designs. Four variations of ball and socket-type artificial disc were placed at the C5–C6 level in an experimentally validated finite element model. Biomechanical effects of the shape (oval vs. spherical ball) and location (inferior vs. superior ball) were studied in detail. Range of motion, facet loading, implant stresses and capsule ligament strains were computed to investigate the influence of disc designs on resulting biomechanics. Motions at the implant level tended to increase following disc replacement. No major kinematic differences were observed among the disc designs tested. However, implant stresses were substantially higher in the spherical designs when compared to the oval designs. For both spherical and oval designs, the facet loads were lower for the designs with an inferior ball component. The capsule ligament strains were lower for the oval design with an inferior ball component. Overall, the oval design with an inferior ball component, produced motion, facet loads, implant stresses and capsule ligament strains closest to the intact spine, which may be key to long-term implant survival.