The human lumbar intervertebral disc helps stabilize the vertebral bodies by absorbing and distributing loads acting on the spine while maintaining motion across the joint [1]. Current testing methodologies have been designed to study rigid mechanical devices (plates, rods, screws, mechanical joints), and are not suitable for assessing the overall ability of a compliant structure, like the intervertebral disc, to interact with the surrounding tissue structures and restore functionality to the joint [2]. The objective of this study was to develop a kinematics-based testing protocol that prescribes a known kinematics input to a lumbar spinal motion segment unit (MSU) and measures the capacity of the intact MSU to accommodate the motion in terms of compressive and shear loads and range of motion.

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