Load and displacement-controlled finite element analyses on fusion and non-fusion spinal implants

Z. C. Zhong, S. H. Chen, Ching-Hua Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This study used finite element (FE) analysis with the load-controlled method (LCM) and the displacement-controlled method (DCM) to examine motion differences at the implant level and adjacent levels between fusion and non-fusion implants.

A validated three-dimensional intact (INT) L1-L5 FE model was used. At the L3-L4 level, the INT model was modified to surgery models, including the artificial disc replacement (ADR) of ProDisc II, and the anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) cage with pedicle screw fixation. The LCM imposed 10 N m moments of four physiological motions and a 150 N preload at the top of L1. The DCM process was in accordance with the hybrid testing protocol. The average percentage changes in the range of motion (ROM) for whole non-operated levels were used to predict adjacent level effects (ALE%).

At the implant level, the ALIF model showed similar stability with both control methods. The ADR model using the LCM had a higher ROM than the model using the DCM, especially in extension and torsion. At the adjacent levels, the ALIF model increased ALE% (at least 17 per cent) using the DCM compared with the LCM. The ADR model had an ALE% close to that of the INT model, using the LCM (average within 6 per cent), while the ALE% decreased when using the DCM.

The study suggests that both control methods can be adopted to predict the fusion model at the implant level, and similar stabilization characteristics can be found. The LCM will emphasize the effects of the non-fusion implants. The DCM was more clinically relevant in evaluating the fusion model at the adjacent levels. In conclusion, both the LCM and the DCM should be considered in numerical simulations to obtain more realistic data in spinal implant biomechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Adjacent segment effect
  • Artificial disc
  • Displacement-controlled method
  • Finite element analysis
  • Fusion
  • Hybrid approach
  • Load-controlled method

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