Finite element study of human lumbar disc nucleus replacements

Hendrik Schmidt, Maxim Bashkuev, Fabio Galbusera, Hans Joachim Wilke, Aboulfazl Shirazi-Adl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Currently, there are a number of nucleus replacements under development. The important concern is how well these implants duplicate the mechanical function of the native nucleus. This finite element model study aimed to investigate the influence of different nucleus replacements on the mechanical response of the disc. Models included partial, full, over-sized, partially saturated, elastic and poroelastic solid replacements. Over-sized nucleus replacements up to 25% yielded results that were comparable to those in the intact state. Differences were much greater in cases with under-sized nucleus replacements. The effect was most pronounced for the 75% under-sized replacement that resembled the condition with a full nucleotomy. Nucleus implants with elastic properties substantially altered load transmission when 10% under-sized and over-sized replacements were considered. Compared to intact, the under-sized implants should be avoided when using biphasic materials with properties similar to the native nucleus, whereas for elastic replacements both under- and over-sized implants should not be used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1762-1776
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • finite element analysis
  • implants
  • intervertebral disc
  • nucleus replacement
  • poroelastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Medicine(all)


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