Adaptive modeling of adjacent spinal motion segments after stabilization
Degeneration of the spine is a prevalent problem that generally advances with age, although its occurrence is not restricted to the elderly, causing low back pain; however, the exact relationship between the two remains unknown. Mechanical property changes resulting from degeneration are also likely contributors to changes in lumbar spine kinematics (see for example Kettler et al., 2011) that can lead to other pathologies (e.g. Fujiwara et al. 2000). However, in literature there is disagreement about the effect of degeneration on the flexibility of the lumbar spine; degeneration first causes spinal instability followed by stabilization or directly leads to stabilization.
In order to develop a suitable treatment plan, it is necessary to investigate the effect of degeneration on the individual tissues of the intervertebral disc and translate this to the kinematic behavior of the spinal motion segment (SMS). Recently, we showed that our fiber reinforced osmoporo-viscoelastic (FR-OPVE) multi scale cartilaginous tissue model, based on matrix constituent contents and their material properties, could be used to simulate the kinematic behavior of a healthy SMS (Barthelemy et al., 2012). The aim of this project is to use this model as starting point to investigate the kinematic behavior of an early degenerated SMS by including different aspects including changes in bone mechanics. By doing this, we will be able to contribute to the current understanding and discussion related to early degeneration and stability and how to treat early degeneration.