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Strukturmechanische Defektklassifikation und Modellierung der Halswirbelsäule (HWS)

Project description

Within the interdisciplinary research project a database with material characteristics for the description of mechanical properties of cervical vertebraes is generated which can be used for definition of defect classification for degeneratively modified cervical vertebraes. Based on this a solution for an extended patient model is developed which contains defect specific parameters for vertebrae structure and parameters for describing ligaments. For the integration of additional data in the planning process a suitable user interface is developed for providing an efficient data handling.


In case of age-related degenerative diseases of the cervical spine osteosynthesis is performed to reconstruct the ossal anatomy. In those circumstances a secure anchorage of the implant is extremely difficult due to the limited stiffness of the diseased vertebrae structures. Subjected to overstressing, implant loosening or breaking can occur which requires revision surgery. Performing main movements like flexion/extension the dorsal ligament structures and the anterior longitudinal ligament are the hindering structures and therefore contribute to the stability of the cervical spine. However, in ventral surgical sessions they are severed and resected. The mentioned work steps “determination of access operation” and „implant anchorage“ have a great influence of the therapeutic outcome and are only assisted by CT/MRT-data and planning software with measurement functions and implant templates. So far, information to vertebrae stiffness and the influence of ligaments are missing.

Research goal

Support of a preoperative planning model of the cervical spine for determination of ligament preserving access operation and optimal implant choice for increasing the quality of therapeutic outcomes in case of weak bone structure treatment.

Priorities of the project

  • Defect classification of degeneratively modified cervical vertebrae
  • Material characterization for defined groups of pathologies
  • Influence of ligaments on the stability of the cervical spine
  • Patient model with parameters for evaluating ligament structures and defect specific bone properties
  • Human machine interface for data interaction
  • Model based segmentation method for generating patient individual cervical vertebraes


Previous research results

  • Development of a radiographic defect classification to describe changes in the cervical spine caused by degeneration processes, based on over 150 MRI datasets
  • Evaluation of a first draft of defect classification by a Germany-wide study with participation of 53 neurosurgeons
  • Preparation of a first draft of a patient model’s meta structure for the treatment of cervical spinal canal stenosis
  • Development of a method for the fully automated segmentation of cervical vertebral bodies in MRI-dataset, based on over 100 patient data
  • Development of a process chain for the experimental investigation of the mobility of cervical spine segments and for the investigation of the influence of ligament structures on the stability of the cervical spine
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