Ohio State’s Ehud Mendel, MD, and William Marras, PhD, are taking personalized medicine in spine surgery to the next level
with their 3-D spine model images. Using CT and MRI imaging, Dr. Marras and his team at Ohio State’s Spine Research Institute
build person-specific, dynamic models that represent muscle location, size and activity; subject motion; and other important
anatomical details, taking advantage of flexible multi-body dynamics to enable a surgeon to assess various surgical approaches
for an individual before initiating surgery.
Dr. Marras has been the lead researcher in refining this spine modeling technique for more than 30 years. His interactive,
computer-generated, biomechanical models allow spine surgeons to calculate forces on various tissues, muscles and bones
under different real-life simulating test conditions. Two in vivo methods are
used to validate the models, which are based upon the ability to match
measured and predicted external loads and intervertebral kinematics.
Currently, the success rate for traditional spine surgeries is around 50 percent
due to many variables and unknown factors that affect outcomes. Dr. Mendel
partially credits his own high surgical success rate to these advanced spine
modeling capabilities and the ability to test different surgical options and their
likely outcomes in advance of actually performing surgery. For example, the
model may reveal a better surgical screw placement location than surgeons
had originally proposed. Utilizing spine modeling, surgeons can develop and
practice techniques to create an individualized treatment for each patient and
each specific surgery.
Marras WS, Ferguson SA, Lavender SA,
Splittstoesser RE, Yang G. Cumulative spine
loading and clinically meaningful declines
in low-back function. Human Factors:
The Journal of the Human Factors and
Ergonomics Society. Feb 2014; 56( 1): 29-43.
Rose JD, Mendel E, Marras WS: Carrying
and spine loading. Ergonomics. Sep 2013;
Knapik GG, Mendel E, Marras WS: Use of a
personalized hybrid biomechanical model
to assess change in lumbar spine function
with a TDR compared to an intact spine.
European Spine Journal. Jun 2012; 21(S. 5):
Building person-specific, dynamic models
enables a surgeon to assess various
surgical approaches for an individual
before setting foot in the operating room.