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Front Bioeng Biotechnol


Validation of a Patient-Specific Musculoskeletal Model for Lumbar Load Estimation Generated by an Automated Pipeline From Whole Body CT.


Lerchl T, El Husseini M, Bayat A, Sekuboyina A, Hermann L, Nispel K, Baum T, Löffler MT, Senner V, Kirschke JS
Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2022; 10:862804.
PMID: 35898642.


Chronic back pain is a major health problem worldwide. Although its causes can be diverse, biomechanical factors leading to spinal degeneration are considered a central issue. Numerical biomechanical models can identify critical factors and, thus, help predict impending spinal degeneration. However, spinal biomechanics are subject to significant interindividual variations. Therefore, in order to achieve meaningful findings on potential pathologies, predictive models have to take into account individual characteristics. To make these highly individualized models suitable for systematic studies on spinal biomechanics and clinical practice, the automation of data processing and modeling itself is inevitable. The purpose of this study was to validate an automatically generated patient-specific musculoskeletal model of the spine simulating static loading tasks. CT imaging data from two patients with non-degenerative spines were processed using an automated deep learning-based segmentation pipeline. In a semi-automated process with minimal user interaction, we generated patient-specific musculoskeletal models and simulated various static loading tasks. To validate the model, calculated vertebral loadings of the lumbar spine and muscle forces were compared with data from the literature. Finally, results from both models were compared to assess the potential of our process for interindividual analysis. Calculated vertebral loads and muscle activation overall stood in close correlation with data from the literature. Compression forces normalized to upright standing deviated by a maximum of 16% for flexion and 33% for lifting tasks. Interindividual comparison of compression, as well as lateral and anterior-posterior shear forces, could be linked plausibly to individual spinal alignment and bodyweight. We developed a method to generate patient-specific musculoskeletal models of the lumbar spine. The models were able to calculate loads of the lumbar spine for static activities with respect to individual biomechanical properties, such as spinal alignment, bodyweight distribution, and ligament and muscle insertion points. The process is automated to a large extent, which makes it suitable for systematic investigation of spinal biomechanics in large datasets.