To predict the degeneration process in the intervertebral disc, a finite element model of the spinal motion segment model was developed. The relationship between the biomechanical characteristics of fluid and solid matrix of the disc and cancellous core of the vertebral body, modeled as 20 node poroelastic elements, during the degeneration process was investigated. Excess von Mises stress in the disc element was assumed to be a possible source of degeneration under compressive loading condition. Recursive calculation was continued until the desired convergence was attained by changing the permeability and void ratio of those elements. The degenerated disc model showed that relatively small compressive stresses were generated in the nucleus elements compared to normal disc. Its distribution along the sagittal plane was consistent with a previously reported experimental result. Contrasts to this result, pore pressures in the nucleus were higher than those in the normal disc. Total stress, sum of compressive stress and pore pressure, indicated similar values for two different models. This study presented a new approach to study the likely mechanism responsible for the initiation and progression of the degenerative process within the intervertebral disc.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Adams, M. A., Dolan, P. and Hutton, W. C., 1987, “Diurnal Variations in the Stresses on the Lumbar Spine,“Spine, Vol. 12, pp. 130–137.
Brown, M. D., Holmes, D. C. and Heiner, A. D. 2002, “Measurement of Cadaver Lumbar Spine Motion Segment Stiffness,“Spine, Vol. 27, pp. 918–922.
Ghosh, P. and SC, B., 1988, “The Biology of the Intervertebral Disc,“CRC Press, USA, pp. 99–105.
Gu, W. Y., Mao, X. G., Foster, R. J., Weidenbaum, M. and Mow, V. C., Rawlins, B. A., 1999, “The Anisotropic Hydraulic Permeability of Human Lumbar Annulus Fibrosus,“Spine, Vol. 24, pp. 2449–2455.
James, C. I., Lori, A. S., Robert, J. F., Bernard, A. R., Mark, W. and Van, C. M., 1998, “Degeneration Affects the Anisotropic and Nonlinear Behaviors of Human Annulus Fibrosus in Compression,“J. Biomech., Vol. 31, pp. 535–544.
Keller, T. S., Hansson, T. H., Abram, A. C., Spengler, D. M. and Panjabi, M. M., 1989, “Regional Variation in the Compressive Properties of Lumbar Vertebral Trabeculae-Effect of Disc Degeneration,”Spine, Vol. 14, pp. 1012–1019.
Kim, K. W., Lim, T. H., Kim, J. G., Jeong, S. T., Masuda, K. and An, H. S., 2003, “The Origin of Chondrocytes in the Nucleus Pulposus and Histologic Findings Associated with the Transition of a Notochordal Nucleus Pulposus to a Fibrocartilaginous Nucleus Pulposus in Intact Rabbit Intervertebral Discs,“Spine, Vol. 28, pp. 982–990.
Kim, Y. E., Goel, V. K., Weinstein, J. N. and Lim, T., 1991, “Effect of Disc Degeneration at One Level on the Adjacent Level in Axial Mode,“Spine, Vol. 16, pp. 331–335.
Kraemer, J. D., Kolditz, M. and Gowin, R., 1985, “Water and Electrolyte Content of Fluman Intervertebral Discs Under Variable Load,“Spine, Vol. 10, pp. 69–71.
Kuslich, S. D., Ulstrom, C. L. and Michael, C. J., 1991, “The Tissue Origin of Low Back Pain and Sciatica,“Orthop. Clin. N. Am., Vol. 22, pp. 181–187.
Lee, C. K., Kim, Y E., Lee, C. S., Hong, Y M., Jung, J. M. and Goel, V. K., 2000, “Impact Response of the Intervertebral Disc in a Finite-element Model,”Spine, Vol. 25, pp. 2431–2439.
Li, L. P., Soulhat, J., Buschmann, M. D. and Shirazi-Adl, A., 1999, “Nonlinear Analysis of Cartilage in Unconfmed Ramp Compression Using a Fibril Reinforced Poroelastic Model,“Clin. Biomech., Vol. 14, pp. 673–682.
Lotz, J. C. and Chin, J. R., 2000, “Intervertebral Disc Cell Death is Independent on the Magnitude and Duration of Spinal Loading,“Spine, Vol. 25, pp. 1477–1483.
Lotz, J. C., Colliou, O. K., Chin, J. R., Ducan, N. A. and Liebenberg, E., 1998, “Compression-induced Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc ; An in Vivo Mouse Model and Finite Element Study,“Spine, Vol. 23, pp. 2493–2506.
Natarajan, R. N., Ke, J. H. and Andersson, G. B. J., 1994, “A Model to Study the Disc Degeneration Process,“Spine, Vol. 19, pp. 259–265.
Natarajan, R. N., Williams, J. R. and Andersson, G. B. J., 2004, “Recent Advances in Analytical Modeling of Lumbar Disc Degeneration,“Spine, Vol. 29, pp. 2733–2741.
Pollintine, P., Przybyla, A. S, Dolan, P. and Adams, M. A., 2004, “Neural Arch Load-bearing in Old and Degenerated Spines,“J. of Biomech., Vol. 37, pp. 197–204.
Ralph, E. Gay, R. E., Ilharreborde, B., Zhao, K., Zhao, C. and An, K. N, 2006, “Sagittal Plane Motion in the Human Lumbar Spine: Comparison of the in Vitro Quasistatic Neutral Zone and Dynamic Motion Parameters,“Clin. Biomech., Vol. 21, pp. 914–949.
About this article
Cite this article
Woo, D., Kim, Y.E., Kim, S. et al. Simulation of the disc degeneration with a poroelastic finite element model. J Mech Sci Technol 21, 1178–1183 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03179033
- FE model
- Poroelastic element
- Void ratio