National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
The most common symptoms of cervical (neck) degenerative disc disease are pain and stiffness in the neck. While various surgical approaches are available, it is difficult to evaluate their biomechanical effectiveness in vivo because of high variations in bone geometry and quality. In addition, numerical models of the neck developed in the past have been oversimplified to reduce computational time.
Researchers used ANSYS Workbench to model the human upper body with 160 bones and soft tissues and 30 muscles and ligaments. Hyperelastic materials were used to simulate intervertebral discs, with tension-only springs representing muscles and ligaments. The researchers analyzed the biomechanical performance of the model for four cases: an intact (disease-free) model; an untreated degenerative model; a degenerative model treated with anterior disc removal and spinal fusion surgery; and a degenerative model treated with artificial disc replacement surgery. Comparing the range of motion, the maximum stress of intervertebral discs, the maximum stress of bones, and the maximum stress of cervical repair devices, showed that artificial disc replacement surgery reduced degeneration of adjacent segments of the spine compared with anterior disc removal and spinal fusion surgery.