Lumbar spine finite element model for healthy subjects: development and validation

Ming Xu, James Yang, Isador H. Lieberman, Ram Haddas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Finite element (FE) method is a proven powerful and efficient tool to study the biomechanics of the human lumbar spine. However, due to the large inter-subject variability of geometries and material properties in human lumbar spines, concerns existed on the accuracy and predictive power of one single deterministic FE model with one set of spinal geometry and material properties. It was confirmed that the combined predictions (median or mean value) of several distinct FE models can be used as an improved prediction of behavior of human lumbar spine under identical loading and boundary conditions. In light of this improved prediction, five FE models (L1-L5 spinal levels) of the human lumbar spine were developed based on five healthy living subjects with identical modeling method. The five models were extensively validated through experimental and computational results in the literature. Mesh convergence and material sensitivity analysis were also conducted. We have shown that the results from the five FE models developed in this paper were consistent with the experimental data and simulation results from the existing literature. The validated modeling method introduced in this study can be used in modeling dysfunctional lumber spines such as disc degeneration and scoliosis in future work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • Lumbar spine
  • finite element method
  • mesh sensitivity analysis
  • validation


Dive into the research topics of 'Lumbar spine finite element model for healthy subjects: development and validation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this