Crystallinity dependency of the time-dependent mechanical response of polyethylene: application in total disc replacement
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Degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD) is a leading source of chronic low back pain or neck pain, and represents the main cause of long-term disability worldwide. In the aim to relieve pain, total disc replacement (TDR) is a valuable surgical treatment option, but the expected benefit strongly depends on the prosthesis itself. The present contribution is focused on the synthetic mimic of the native IVD in the aim to optimally restore its functional anatomy and biomechanics, and especially its time-dependency. Semi-crystalline polyethylene (PE) materials covering a wide spectrum of the crystallinity are used to propose new designs of TDR. The influence of the crystallinity on various features of the time-dependent mechanical response of the PE materials is reported over a large strain range by means of dynamic mechanical thermo-analysis and video-controlled tensile mechanical tests. The connection of the stiffness and the yield strength with the microstructure is reported in the aim to propose a model predicting the crystallinity dependency of the response variation with the frequency. New designs of TDR are proposed and implemented into an accurate computational model of a cervical spine segment in order to simulate the biomechanical response under physiological conditions. Predicted in-silico motions are found in excellent agreement with experimental data extracted from published in-vitro studies under compression and different neck movements, namely, rotation, flexion/extension and lateral bending. The simulation results are also criticized by analyzing the local stresses and the predicted biomechanical responses provided by the different prosthetic solutions in terms of time-dependency manifested by the hysteretic behavior under a cyclic movement and the frequency effect.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No.: 51769035), the Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Fluid and Power Machinery, Ministry of Education, Xihua University (Project No.: szjj-2016-060) and the Open Research Fund Program of Key Laboratory of Fluid and Power Machinery, Ministry of Education, Xihua University (Project No.: szjj-2017-100-1-006).
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Conflict of interest
The authors disclose any financial and personal relationships with the other people ororganizations that could inappropriately influence their work.
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