09022024 1707480373

A common cause of neck pain is degeneration of the intervertebral disc, the soft tissue in the spine that in part facilitates movement in the neck. As an alternative and improved treatment, a novel implant was developed with the aim to replicate the intervertebral discs' natural structure with synthetic materials. Similar to the natural intervertebral disc, this new implant consists of three components. The gel-like water-rich core of the natural intervertebral disc is mimicked with a hydrogel that can also absorb water. The surrounding fibrous structure of the natural disc is mimicked with a jacket made of textile. The final component is a metal ring with pins that, like cartilage, connects the intervertebral disc to the adjacent vertebrae. The main goal of this research was to optimize the implant's design to ensure compatibility and functional integration within the spine. Focus was placed on mimicking natural disc movement and shock absorption properties. The findings demonstrated the implant's ability to maintain motion and replicate viscoelastic properties while reducing strain on nearby structures. As a result, this research has shown that mimicking the natural structure can lead to similar biomechanical properties, and thereby contributes to improved treatments for people with severely degenerated intervertebral disc.

Download Thesis