Current implant materials and designs used in spinal fusion show high rates of subsidence. There is currently a need for a method to predict the mechanical properties of the endplate using clinically available tools. The purpose of this study was to develop a predictive model of the mechanical properties of the vertebral endplate at a scale relevant to the evaluation of current medical implant designs and materials. Twenty vertebrae (10 L1 and 10 L2) from 10 cadavers were studied using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to define bone status (normal, osteopenic, or osteoporotic) and computed tomography (CT) to study endplate thickness (μm), density (mg/mm3), and mineral density of underlying trabecular bone (mg/mm3) at discrete sites. Apparent Oliver–Pharr modulus, stiffness, maximum tolerable pressure (MTP), and Brinell hardness were measured at each site using a 3 mm spherical indenter. Predictive models were built for each measured property using various measures obtained from CT and demographic data. Stiffness showed a strong correlation between the predictive model and experimental values (r = 0.85), a polynomial model for Brinell hardness had a stronger predictive ability compared to the linear model (r = 0.82), and the modulus model showed weak predictive ability (r = 0.44), likely due the low indentation depth and the inability to image the endplate at that depth (≈0.15 mm). Osteoporosis and osteopenia were found to be the largest confounders of the measured properties, decreasing them by approximately 50%. It was confirmed that vertebral endplate mechanical properties could be predicted using CT and demographic indices.
Evaluation and Prediction of Human Lumbar Vertebrae Endplate Mechanical Properties Using Indentation and Computed Tomography
Manuscript received February 9, 2018; final manuscript received May 7, 2018; published online June 21, 2018. Assoc. Editor: James C Iatridis.
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Patel, R. R., Noshchenko, A., Dana Carpenter, R., Baldini, T., Frick, C. P., Patel, V. V., and Yakacki, C. M. (June 21, 2018). "Evaluation and Prediction of Human Lumbar Vertebrae Endplate Mechanical Properties Using Indentation and Computed Tomography." ASME. J Biomech Eng. October 2018; 140(10): 101011. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4040252
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