Inverse numerical prediction of the transport properties of vertebral endplates in low back pain patients

Fabio Galbusera, Marta Tibiletti, Marco Brayda-Bruno, Cornelia Neidlinger-Wilke, Hans Joachim Wilke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A numerical method based on contrast-enhanced MRI to predict the transport properties of spinal structures is presented and used for a population of 32 low back pain patients. Sixty-eight one-dimensional finite element models aimed to replicate the transport of Gd-HP-DO3A were developed, one for each intervertebral disc was investigated. Each model had the same disc height as that measured on the MRI images of specific patients. Transport properties of the vertebral structures were inversely calculated in order to minimize the error between the predicted Gd-HP-DO3A concentration and those determined by MRI acquisitions for specific patients 6 h after a contrast agent injection. Within some limits numerical predictions were generally representative of the Gd-HP-DO3A concentration behavior estimated by contrast-enhanced MRIs. The predicted properties showed high variability within the population. Transport properties were markedly higher than the bulk diffusion coefficients of the nutrients. No significant differences (p=0.31) were observed between the caudal and the cranial endplate zones. Discs had higher transport properties than endplate zones (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-397
Number of pages13
JournalBiomedizinische Technik
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Contrast-enhanced MRI
  • disc nutrition
  • finite element
  • gadolinium
  • magnetic resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine(all)


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