Three-dimensional surface strain analyses of simulated defect and augmented spine segments: A biomechanical cadaveric study

Asghar Rezaei, Maryam Tilton, Hugo Giambini, Yong Li, Alexander Hooke, Alan L. Miller, Michael J. Yaszemski, Lichun Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While several studies have investigated fracture outcomes of intact vertebrae, fracture properties in metastatically-involved and augmented vertebrae are still far from understood. Consequently, this study was aimed to use 3D digital image correlation (3D-DIC) method to investigate the failure properties of spine segments with simulated metastatic lesions, segments augmented with poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF), and compare the outcomes with intact spines. To this end, biomechanical experiments accompanied by 3D-DIC were performed on spine segments consisting of three vertebrae and two intervertebral discs (IVDs) at loading rates of 0.083 mm/s, mimicking a physiological loading condition, and 200 mm/s, mimicking an impact-type loading condition such as a fall or an accident. Full-field surface strain analysis indicated PPF augmentation reduces the superior/inferior strain when compared with the defect specimens; Presence of a defect in the middle vertebra resulted in shear band fracture pattern. Failure of the superior endplates was confirmed in several defect specimens as the superior IVDs were protruding out of defects. The augmenting PPF showed lower superior/inferior surface strain values at the fast speed as compared to the slow speed. The results of our study showed a significant increase in the fracture force from slow to fast speeds (p = 0.0246). The significance of the study was to determine the fracture properties of normal, pathological, and augmented spinal segments under physiologically-relevant loading conditions. Understanding failure properties associated with either defect (i.e., metastasis lesion) or augmented (i.e., post-treatment) spine segments could potentially provide new insights on the outcome prediction and treatment planning. Additionally, this study provides new knowledge on the effect of PPF augmentation in improving fracture properties, potentially decreasing the risk of fracture in osteoporotic and metastatic spines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104559
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Biomechanics of vertebral bodies
  • Fracture outcomes
  • Mechanical testing
  • Metastasis
  • Vertebral augmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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