Design and optimization of a bioactive, osteoinductive spinal fusion devices
Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by adults. While non-invasive treatments are often recommended for patients, several pathologies and injuries can be a triggering factor for surgical intervention. In the BMS group, we explore the implementation of novel materials, topology optimization and additive manufacturing to improve implants used in the intervertebral disc space.
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique that fuses one or more vertebrae together. It can be performed on any level in the spine and is the gold standard for treating many conditions and diseases related to the spine. A spinal cage is often used to stabilise the spinal segment and maintain disc height to promote a proper fusion of the adjacent vertebrae. In this project, the aim to is use topology optimization to minimise the amount of supporting structure used to maximise the volume of potentially osteoinductive materials in the cage. This would promote an increased rate of bone growth while still keeping the segment stable. Furthermore, additive manufacturing is used to produce the complex structures which emerge from the simulations.
For patients with comorbidities, such as osteoporosis, the risks of spinal fusion surgery far outweigh the advantages. Percutaneous cement discoplasty or percutaneous intervertebral-vacuum polymethylmethacrylate injection, is a minimally invasive technique where cement is injected into the spine to promote stability of the segment. As the surgical method is still novel, the aim of the project is to develop further understanding of the technique and biomechanics of the spinal segment using animal models.
As the project is directly connected to medical applications, close collaboration with spine surgeons at Akademiska Sjukhuset was necessary in order to ensure the clinical relevance of the study as well as gain a valuable perspective into the project from a surgeon’s point of view.