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Open AccessArticle

Digital Image Correlation (DIC) Assessment of the Non-Linear Response of the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament of the Spine during Flexion and Extension

1
Department of Industrial Engineering, School of Engineering and Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum—Università di Bologna, I-40131 Bologna, Italy
2
Institute of Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics, Trauma Research Center Ulm (ZTF), University Hospital Ulm, D-89081 Ulm, Germany
3
Laboratory of Biological Structure Mechanics, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “G. Natta”, Politecnico di Milano, I-20133 Milan, Italy
4
IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, I-20161 Milan, Italy
5
Department of Spine Surgery III, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, I-20161 Milan, Italy
6
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
7
Research Center Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, Montréal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2020, 13(2), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020384
Received: 26 November 2019 / Revised: 3 January 2020 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
While the non-linear behavior of spine segments has been extensively investigated in the past, the behavior of the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament (ALL) and its contribution during flexion and extension has never been studied considering the spine as a whole. The aims of the present study were to exploit Digital Image Correlation (DIC) to: (I) characterize the strain distribution on the ALL during flexion-extension, (II) compare the strain on specific regions of interest (ROI) of the ALL in front of the vertebra and of the intervertebral disc, (III) analyze the non-linear relationship between the surface strain and the imposed rotation and the resultant moment. Three specimens consisting of 6 functional spinal units (FSUs) were tested in flexion-extension. The full-field strain maps were measured on the surface of the ALL, and the most strained areas were investigated in detail. The DIC-measured strains showed different values of peak strain in correspondence with the vertebra and the disc but the average over the ROIs was of the same order of magnitude. The strain-moment curves showed a non-linear response like the moment-angle curves: in flexion the slope of the strain-moment curve was greater than in extension and with a more abrupt change of slope. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study addressing, by means of a full-field strain measurement, the non-linear contribution of the ALL to spine biomechanics. This study was limited to only three specimens; hence the results must be taken with caution. This information could be used in the future to build more realistic numerical models of the spine. View Full-Text
Keywords: spine biomechanics; anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL); digital image correlation (DIC); in vitro testing; non-linear material properties spine biomechanics; anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL); digital image correlation (DIC); in vitro testing; non-linear material properties
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Ruspi, M.L.; Palanca, M.; Cristofolini, L.; Liebsch, C.; Villa, T.; Brayda-Bruno, M.; Galbusera, F.; Wilke, H.-J.; La Barbera, L. Digital Image Correlation (DIC) Assessment of the Non-Linear Response of the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament of the Spine during Flexion and Extension. Materials 2020, 13, 384.

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