Finite element analysis of the lumbar spine in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis subjected to different loads

Qiaolin Zhang, Teo Ee Chon, Yan Zhang, Julien S. Baker, Yaodong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)



To explore the biomechanical changes of the lumbar spine segment of idiopathic scoliosis under different loads by simulating six kinds of lumbar spine motions based on a three-dimensional finite element (FE) model. Methods According to the plain CT scan data of L1-L5 segment of an AIS patient, a three-dimensional FE model was established to simulate the biomechanics of lumbar scoliosis under different loads. The lumbar model was reconstructed using Mimics20.0, smoothed in Geomagic2013, assembled in Solidworks 2020, with FE analysis performed using Workbench19.0. Results The completed model had a total of 119029 C3D4 solid elements, 223805 nodes, including finely reconstructed tissue structures. In patients with AIS, the range of motion (ROM) is reduced under all loads. Under flexion loads, the vertebral concave stress distribution is greater; under extension lateral bending, and rotation load at the posterior side of the vertebral body, the stress is concentrated in the L3 vertebral arch. The buffering effect of intervertebral disc on the rotational load is the weakest. Different loads of AIS cause corresponding changes in the force and displacement of different positions of the vertebral body or intervertebral discs. Conclusions The change in physiological shape of the lumbar vertebrae limits the ROM of the lumbar vertebrae. The stress showed a trend of local concentration which located in the concave side of the scoliosis. The stress on the lumbar vertebrae comprising the greatest curvature is the most excessive. The stress in the intervertebral disc under the rotating load is greater than that under other kinds of loads, and the intervertebral disc is more likely to be injured because of the rotating load.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104745
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Early online date8 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Biomechanical analysis
  • Finite element
  • Lumbar spine
  • Stress distribution


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