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Biomechanical Evaluation of a Novel Apatite-Wollastonite Ceramic Cage Design for Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Finite Element Model Study

Aktas, Erdem
Gürbüz, Rıza
Timucin, Muharrem
Objectives. Cage design and material properties play a crucial role in the long-term results, since interbody fusions using intervertebral cages have become one of the basic procedures in spinal surgery. Our aim is to design a novel Apatite-Wollastonite interbody fusion cage and evaluate its biomechanical behavior in silico in a segmental spinal model. Materials and Methods. Mechanical properties for the Apatite-Wollastonite bioceramic cages were obtained by fitting finite element results to the experimental compression behavior of a cage prototype. The prototype was made from hydroxyapatite, pseudowollastonite, and frit by sintering. The elasticmodulus of thematerial was found to be 32 GPa. Three intact lumbar vertebral segments were modelled with the ANSYS 12.0.1 software and this model was modified to simulate a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. Four cage designs in different geometries were analyzed in silico under axial loading, flexion, extension, and lateral bending. Results. The K2 design had the best overall biomechanical performance for the loads considered. Maximumcage stress recorded was 36.7MPa in compression after a flexion load, which was within the biomechanical limits of the cage. Conclusion. Biomechanical analyses suggest that K2 bioceramic cage is an optimal design and reveals essential material properties for a stable interbody fusion.