Biomechanical investigation into the structural design of porous additive manufactured cages using numerical and experimental approaches

Pei I. Tsai, Ching Chi Hsu*, San-Yuan Chen, Tsung Han Wu, Chih Chieh Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traditional solid cages have been widely used in posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery. However, solid cages significantly affect the loading mechanism of the human spine due to their extremely high structural stiffness. Previous studies proposed and investigated porous additive manufactured (AM) cages; however, their biomechanical performances were analyzed using oversimplified bone-implant numerical models. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the outer shape and inner porous structure of the AM cages. The outer shape of the AM cages was discovered using a simulation-based genetic algorithm; their inner porous structure was subsequently analyzed parametrically using T10-S1 multilevel spine models. Finally, six types of the AM cages, which were manufactured using selective laser melting, were tested to validate the numerical outcomes. The subsidence resistance of the optimum design was superior to the conventional cage designs. A porous AM cage with a pillar diameter of 0.4 mm, a pillar angle of 40°, and a porosity of between 69% and 80% revealed better biomechanical performances. Both the numerical and experimental outcomes can help surgeons to understand the biomechanics of PLIF surgery combined with the use of AM cages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Volume76
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Additive manufactured cage
  • Cage stress
  • Disc stress
  • Finite element analysis
  • Intersegmental rotation

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