Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc and Facet Joints

Univ.-Prof. biol. hum. Hendrik Schmidt

Learn more about our reseach regarding the degeneration of the intervertebral disc and facet Joints.

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Course of degeneration within a functional spinal unit

Finite-element models with differently degenerated discs compared by using macroscopic and radiographic examinations.

The degeneration of the intervertebral disc and the facet joints is one major reason for specific low back pain which can be induced, among other factors, by inappropriate mechanical stresses and overloading. It is still a matter of debate which structure is affected first by degenerative processes and whether a correlation exists between both. This knowledge, however, is crucial for the choice of appropriate treatment strategies.  It provides basic know-how to optimize the development of spinal implants and helps to take a decision regarding the indication of fusion or motion-preserving implants.

The aim of our research in this field is to clarify the course of degeneration within a functional spinal unit.


Response analysis of the lumbar spine during regular daily activities - a finite element analysis.

Schmidt, H, Shirazi-Adl, A, Galbusera, F, Wilke, HJ
J Biomech 43, 1849-1856.
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The effect of degenerative morphological changes of the intervertebral disc on the lumbar spine biomechanics: A poroelastic finite element investigation.
Fabio Galbusera, Hendrik Schmidt, Cornelia Neidlinger-Wilke, Hans-Joachim Wilke
Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin, 14(8):729-39.
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Effect of intervertebral disc degeneration on disc cell viability: a numerical investigation.
Fabio Galbusera, Antje Mietsch, Hendrik Schmidt, Hans-Joachim Wilke, Cornelia Neidlinger-Wilke
Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin, 16(3).
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The mechanical response of the lumbar spine to different combinations of disc degenerative changes investigated using randomized poroelastic finite element models.

Fabio Galbusera, Hendrik Schmidt, Cornelia Neidlinger-Wilke, Andreas Gottschalk, Hans-Joachim Wilke
European Spine Journal, 20(4):563-71.
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Dependency of disc degeneration on shear and tensile strains between annular fiber layers for complex loads.

Schmidt H, Heuer F, Wilke HJ
Medical engineering & physics 31(6): 642-9.
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The risk of disc prolapses with complex loading in different degrees of disc degeneration – A finite element analysis.

Hendrik Schmidt, Annette Kettler, Antonius Rohlmann, Lutz Claes, Hans-Joachim Wilke
Clin Biomech 22(9):988-98.
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Application of a new calibration method for a three-dimensional finite element model of a human lumbar annulus fibrosus.

Schmidt H, Heuer F, Simon U, Kettler A, Rohlmann A, Claes L, Wilke HJ
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 21:337-344
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A validated and a calibrated finite element model of a functional spinal unit compared on defect situations.
H. Schmidt, F. Heuer, J. Drumm, Z. Klezl, L. Claes, H.-J. Wilke
J Biomech 39, DOI:10.1016/S0021-9290(06)85683-6
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Analysis of the influence of disc degeneration on the mechanical behaviour of a lumbar motion segment using the finite element method.
Antonius Rohlmann, Thomas Zander, Hendrik Schmidt, Hans-Joachim Wilke, Georg Bergmann
J Biomech 39(13):2484-90. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.07.026
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Barbara Schiller

Secretariat Prof. Hendrik Schmidt