Equipment and Instrumentation for Mechanical Testing of Spinal Devices

The spine remains the most complex series of joints within the body, and research into the basic biomechanics and flexibility is still widespread. Multi-axial and complex simulation of spinal segments in six degrees-of-freedom is the challenge of many researchers as they attempt to understand how the spine behaves under different loading conditions.

There are many different spinal devices and spinal implants on the market and their performance and quality needs validating in a laboratory before they can be used in a clinical situation. Types of spinal device include rods, pedicle screws, hooks, plates, cages, constructs, intervertebral fusion devices, nucleus replacements, and intervertebral disc prostheses. Mechanical testing of spinal implants and testing of spinal devices is normally carried out following ASTM or ISO standards. Testing can include axial compression, torsional, flexion-extension, lateral bending, lateral shearing, and anterior-posterior shear. Examples of mechanical tests of spinal implants are found below.

Testing of Spinal Constructs to ASTM F1717

fatigue spinal implant

ASTM F1717, Standard Test Methods for Spinal Implant Constructs in a Vertebrectomy Model, specifies methods for both the static and fatigue testing of spinal implant assemblies

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Testing of Intervertebral Body Fusion Devices to ASTM F2077


ASTM F2077 – 03 “Test Methods for Intervertebral Body Fusion Devices” specifies a number of different static and dynamic tests to provide a mechanical comparison between different fusion devices.

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Testing of Intervertebral Disc Prostheses to ASTM F2346


ASTM F2346 provides a methodology for characterizing the static strength and dynamic fatigue behavior of disc prostheses.

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