An Interlocking Ligamentous Spinal Disk Arthroplasty with Neural Network Infrastructure
An elastomeric spinal disk prosthesis design (BioFI™) with vertebral interlocking anchors has been modified using an embedded TiNi wire array. Bioinert styrenic block copolymer (Kraton®) and polycarbonate urethane (Bionate®) thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) matrices were utilized. Fatigue resistant NiTi wire was pretreated to induce superelastic martensitic microstructure. Stent-like helical structures were produced for incorporation within homogenous TPE matrix. Composite prototypes were fabricated in a vacuum hot press using transfer moulding techniques. Implant prototypes were subject to axial compression using a BOSE ® ELF3400. The NiTi reinforced implants exhibited reduction in axial strain, compliance, and creep compared to TPE controls. The axial properties of the NiTi reinforced Bionate® BioFI™ implant best approximated those of a spinal disk followed by Kraton®-NiTi, Bionate® and Kraton® prototypes. An ovine lumbar segment biomechanical model was used to characterize the disk prosthesis prototypes. Specimens were subject to 7.5Nm pure moments in axial rotation, flexion-extension and lateral bending with a custom jig mounted on an Instron® 8874. The motion preserving ligamentous nature of this arthroplasty prototype was not inhibited by NiTi reinforcement. Joint stiffness for all prototypes was significantly less than the intact and discectomy controls. This was due to lack of vertebral anchor rigidity rather than BioFI™ motion segment matrix type or reinforcement. Implant stress profiles for axial compression and axial torsion conditions were obtained using finite element methods. The biomechanical testing and finite element modelling both support existing BioFI™ design specifications for higher modulus vertebral anchors, endplates and motion segment periphery with gradation to a low modulus core within the motion segment. This closer approximation of the native spinal disk form translates to improvements in prosthesis biomechanical fidelity and longevity. Axial compressive strain induced within a TiNi reinforced Kraton® BioFI™ was found to be linearly proportional to the NiTi helical coil electrical resistance. This neural network capability delivers opportunities to monitor and telemeterize in situ multiaxis joint structural performance and in vivo spine biomechanics.
P. Boughton et al., "An Interlocking Ligamentous Spinal Disk Arthroplasty with Neural Network Infrastructure", Journal of Biomimetics, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Vol. 7, pp. 55-79, 2010