The Effect of Fluid Loss on the Viscoelastic Behavior of the Lumbar Intrevertebral Disc in Compression

[+] Author and Article Information
Y. M. Lu, V. M. Gharpuray

Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

W. C. Hutton

The Emory Spine Center, Department of Orthopædic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30033

J Biomech Eng 120(1), 48-54 (Feb 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834306 History: Received February 08, 1996; Revised February 10, 1997; Online January 07, 2008


A viscoelastic finite element model of a L2-L3 motion segment was constructed and used to study: (1) the behavior of the intervertebral disc with different amounts of nucleus fluid loss; and (2) the effect of different rates of fluid loss on the viscoelastic behavior of the disc. The results indicate that: (1) The viscoelastic behavior of the intervertebral disc depends to a large extent on the rate of fluid loss from the disc; the intrinsic properties of disc tissue play a role only at the early stage of compressive loading; (2) the axial strain increases, whereas the intradiscal pressure and the posterior radial disc bulge decrease with increasing fluid loss; (3) a decreasing fluid loss rate with a total fluid loss of 10 to 20 percent (from the nucleus) during the first hour of compressive loading best predicts the overall viscoelastic behavior of a disc.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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