Title

Biomechanical Testing of a 3D-printed L5 Vertebral Body Model

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Background We examined the biomechanical performance of a three-dimensional (3D)-printed vertebra on pedicle screw insertional torque (IT), axial pullout (APO), and stiffness (ST) testing. Materials and methods Seventy-three anatomically identical L5 vertebral body models (146 pedicles) were printed and tested for IT, APO, and ST using single-threaded pedicle screws of equivalent diameter (6.5 mm), length (40.0 mm), and thread pitch (2.6 mm). Print properties (material, cortical thickness [number of shells], cancellous density [in-fill], in-fill pattern, print orientation) varied among models. One-way analysis of variance was performed to evaluate the effects of variables on outcomes. Results The type of material significantly affected IT, APO, and ST (P < 0.001, all comparisons). For acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) models, in-fill density (25-35%) had a positive linear association with APO (P = 0.002), ST (P = 0.008), and IT (P = 0.10); similarly for the polylactic acid (PLA) models, APO (P = 0.001), IT (P < 0.001), and ST (P = 0.14). For the nylon material type, in-fill density did not affect any tested parameter. For a given in-fill density, material, and print orientation, the in-fill pattern significantly affected IT (P = 0.002) and APO (P = 0.03) but not ST (P = 0.23). Print orientation also significantly affected IT (P < 0.001), APO (P < 0.001), and ST (P = 0.002). Conclusions 3D-printed vertebral body models with specific print parameters can be designed to perform analogously to human bone on pedicle screw tests of IT, APO, and ST. Altering the material, in-fill density, in-fill pattern, and print orientation of synthetic vertebral body models could reliably produce a model that mimics bone of a specific bone mineral density.

Keywords

3d printing, bone mineral density, pedicle screw, spine biomechanics, synthetic bone model

Publication Date

1-15-2019

Publication Title

Cureus

ISSN

2168-8184

Volume

11

Issue

1

First Page

e3893

PubMed ID

30911450

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.7759/cureus.3893

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