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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 11, 2014

Discrepancies in anthropometric parameters between different models affect intervertebral rotations when loading finite element models with muscle forces from inverse static analyses

  • Rui Zhu and Antonius Rohlmann EMAIL logo


In only a few published finite element (FE) simulations have muscle forces been applied to the spine. Recently, muscle forces determined using an inverse static (IS) model of the spine were transferred to a spinal FE model, and the effect of methodical parameters was investigated. However, the sensitivity of anthropometric differences between FE and IS models, such as body height and spinal orientation, was not considered. The aim of this sensitivity study was to determine the influence of those differences on the intervertebral rotations (IVRs) following the transfer of muscle forces from an IS model to a FE model. Muscle forces were estimated for 20° flexion and 10° extension of the upper body using an inverse static musculoskeletal model. These forces were subsequently transferred to a nonlinear FE model of the spino-pelvic complex, which includes 243 muscle fascicles. Deviations of body height (±10 cm), spinal orientation in the sagittal plane (±10°), and body weight (±10 kg) between both models were intentionally generated, and their influences on IVRs were determined. The changes in each factor relative to their corresponding reference value of the IS model were calculated. Deviations in body height, spinal orientation, and body weight resulted in maximum changes in the IVR of 19.2%, 26% and 4.2%, respectively, relative to T12-S1 IVR. When transferring muscle forces from an IS to a FE model, it is crucial that both models have the same spinal orientation and height. Additionally, the body weight should be equal in both models.

Corresponding author: Dr. Antonius Rohlmann, Julius Wolff Institut, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany, Phone: +49 30 2093 46128, Fax: +49 30 2093 46001, E-mail:


This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 31300779), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany (Ro 581/20-1), and the German Federal Institute of Sport Science, Bonn, Germany (MiSpEx – the National Research Network for Medicine in Spine Exercise). Computations were performed at the Norddeutscher Verbund für Hoch- und Höchstleistungsrechnen (HLRN).

Conflicts of interest statement

There are no conflicts of interest.


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Received: 2013-9-3
Accepted: 2014-1-13
Published Online: 2014-2-11
Published in Print: 2014-6-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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