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For spinal fracture research, the team first
statically evaluates the performance of the
vertebrae when loaded to failure across the
neural arch, helping to determine both the
amount of force required and the bone deflection at failure. Next, rectangular rosette
pattern strain gauges are attached to the
neural arch to calculate the direction and
magnitude of principal strain under various
loads and motions.
For kyphoplasty research, a series of
compression-type tests are used to assess
the procedure’s effectiveness in restoring
vertebrae stiffness and strength. Results will
provide valuable information for surgeons
to minimize or even eliminate the need for
spinal fusion, while maintaining adequate
support to prevent further fractures.
“With the data we’re gathering from
these tests, we are well on our way to providing a validated finite element model to
analyze the mechanical implications of the
kyphoplasty treatment,” said Philip Purcell,
the postgraduate student leading the kyphoplasty research.
According to BTC Founder Dr. Fiona McEvoy, the simplicity, flexibility, and capabilities of the MTS Bionix test system have
been essential to empowering her research
teams to unearth new insights about spine
kinematics, many of which are ultimately
put to use in the operating room.
“Being able to carefully choreograph spi-
nal movements in the test lab and correlate
those movements with test data is a rare
capability, and it makes us a very unique
and busy facility,” said McEvoy. “Since the
MTS user experience is so intuitive and test
setups are so fast, our students can really get
creative and explore multiple approaches.”
“With a better understanding of spine
biomechanics and how they are altered after
fracture stabilization and balloon kyphop-
lasty, the surgical community will move a
major step closer to offering more individ-
ualized procedures for each patient based
on validated data,” said Purcell. “Patients
will spend less time on the operating table,
recover faster, and experience far fewer
post-surgery complications. All of this saves
time and money for everyone involved, not
to mention improving quality of life.” MDT
1 Johnell, O. and Kanis, J.A. An estimate of
the worldwide prevalence and disability
associated with osteoporotic fractures. Osteo-poros Int [ePub], 2006 December [cited 2012
November 7], 17( 12): 1726-33.
2 Denis, F. The three column spine and its
significance in the classification of acute
thoracolumbar spinal injuries. Spine, 1983
November-December, 8( 8): 817-831.
“The spine is a fascinating area of study,
because it is such a complex mechanical
system with so many unknowns. Our goal
was to capture data from real-life simulations
and adapt it to a test environment in order to
reduce the unknowns with fracture stabilization and balloon kyphoplasty.” -Colin Bright,
postgraduate student, ITT Dublin BTC.