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Spinal scan investigating a back problem (NCSD, Budapest)
Back pain is an extremely common problem with more limited solutions than limb joints. Together with other musculoskeletal disorders back pain creates a long term financial burden both due to both the costs to health services and social care and the loss of income; 60% of people on early retirement or long term sick leave state that musculoskeletal problems are the reason (1). Back pain is an extremely common problem with more limited solutions than limb joints. The number of patients requiring complex spine surgery is rapidly expanding, and the biomedical engineering industry needs suitably trained innovators to produce economic solutions to support healthy ageing for the people of Europe.

SPINNER is a doctoral training programme aimed at Bioengineering early stage researchers, to train bioengineers to be in a position to design the next generation of repair materials and techniques for spine surgery. SPINNER brings together partners from the biomaterials (Finceramica), implantable devices (Aesculap), and computational modelling (Ansys, Adagos) industries with orthopaedic clinicians (National Centre for Spinal Disorders, NCSD) and academic experts in cell, tissue and organ scale biomaterials and medical device testing (Universities of Sheffield and Bologna).

Key SPINNER objectives are:

  1. Training of orthopaedic Bioengineers capable of integrating in vitro, ex vivo and in silico data across scales for a holistic approach to spine reconstruction.
  2. Development of bioactive, bioresorbable, mechanically competent materials for restoration of the vertebral bone and stable fusion.
  3. Mechanical characterisation of implant materials and reconstructed spines in vitro and in silico.
  4. Integrated, user-friendly, in silico models of the mechanics of damaged and reconstructed spinal segments that can be used for predictive design, patient specific analysis and surgical navigation.

(1) European Action towards better musculoskeletal health. Published by The Bone & Joint Decade Department of Orthopedics, University Hospital. SE-221 85 LUND, Sweden.

Experimental workflow of the study. The arrow represents the applied load and the resulting moment M.

Testing the impact of discoplasty on the biomechanics of the intervertebral disc with simulated degeneration: An in vitro study

The intervertebral discs are soft tissues of the spine that are between vertebrae.  In the healthy condition they allow smooth motion.  In case of degeneration, the patient experiences severe pain and motion is hindered. Percutaneous Cement Discoplasty is a surgical technique that has recently been developed to relieve pain in highly degenerated intervertebral discs in …

Continue reading: Testing the impact of discoplasty on the biomechanics of the intervertebral disc with simulated degeneration: An in vitro study


Definition of virtual 3D geometry from CT scan

Complicated Postoperative Flat Back Deformity Correction with the Aid of Virtual and 3D Printed Anatomical Models: Case Report

The number of patients with iatrogenic spinal deformities is increasing with the global increase in the number of instrumented spinal operations. Correcting such a deformity could prove to be challenging due to the complex anatomical structure of the spine caused by previous surgeries. For these cases, extensive preoperative planning and proper implementation of the surgical …

Continue reading: Complicated Postoperative Flat Back Deformity Correction with the Aid of Virtual and 3D Printed Anatomical Models: Case Report


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