Med Eng Phys 2012 Jul 3;34(6):777-80. Epub 2012 May 3.
Julius Wolff Institute, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
In in vitro studies of the lumbar spine simplified loading modes (compressive follower force, pure moment) are usually employed to simulate the standard load cases flexion-extension, axial rotation and lateral bending of the upper body. However, the magnitudes of these loads vary widely in the literature. Thus the results of current studies may lead to unrealistic values and are hardly comparable. It is still unknown which load magnitudes lead to a realistic simulation of maximum lateral bending. A validated finite element model of the lumbar spine was used in an optimisation study to determine which magnitudes of the compressive follower force and bending moment deliver results that fit best with averaged in vivo data. The best agreement with averaged in vivo measured data was found for a compressive follower force of 700 N and a lateral bending moment of 7.8 Nm. These results show that loading modes that differ strongly from the optimised one may not realistically simulate maximum lateral bending. The simplified but in vitro applicable loading cannot perfectly mimic the in vivo situation. However, the optimised magnitudes are those which agree best with averaged in vivo measured data. Its consequent application would lead to a better comparability of different investigations.