The importance of intervertebral disc material model on the prediction of mechanical function of the cervical spine

Amin Komeili, Akbar Rasoulian, Fatemeh Moghaddam, Marwan El-Rich, Le Ping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Linear elastic, hyperelastic, and multiphasic material constitutive models are frequently used for spinal intervertebral disc simulations. While the characteristics of each model are known, their effect on spine mechanical response requires a careful investigation. The use of advanced material models may not be applicable when material constants are not available, model convergence is unlikely, and computational time is a concern. On the other hand, poor estimations of tissue’s mechanical response are likely if the spine model is oversimplified. In this study, discrepancies in load response introduced by material models will be investigated. Methods: Three fiber-reinforced C2-C3 disc models were developed with linear elastic, hyperelastic, and biphasic behaviors. Three different loading modes were investigated: compression, flexion and extension in quasi-static and dynamic conditions. The deformed disc height, disc fluid pressure, range of motion, and stresses were compared. Results: Results indicated that the intervertebral disc material model has a strong effect on load-sharing and disc height change when compression and flexion were applied. The predicted mechanical response of three models under extension had less discrepancy than its counterparts under flexion and compression. The fluid-solid interaction showed more relevance in dynamic than quasi-static loading conditions. The fiber-reinforced linear elastic and hyperelastic material models underestimated the load-sharing of the intervertebral disc annular collagen fibers. Conclusion: This study confirmed the central role of the disc fluid pressure in spinal load-sharing and highlighted loading conditions where linear elastic and hyperelastic models predicted energy distribution different than that of the biphasic model.

Original languageBritish English
Article number324
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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