Takeshi Hara, Yukoh Ohara, Eiji Abe, Kaosu Takami, Alejandro A. Espinoza Orías, Hajime Arai, Nozomu Inoue

July 2021, pp 1 - 8 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06920-2

First Online: 15 July 2021


Intervertebral device subsidence is one of the complications of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The biomechanical properties of vertebral bony endplate may be related to device subsidence. The aim of this study is to measure the cervical endplate bone density distribution using a novel 3D measurement method.


Eight human cadaver cervical spines were obtained and levels C3-C7 were dissected and CT scanned. Three-dimensional (3D) CT model was created with the same 3D coordinates of the original DICOM dataset. The regional strength and stiffness of the endplate were determined by indentation testing. The indentation points were recorded by a photograph and the location of the indentation points was projected to the 3D CT model. Three-dimensional coordinates of the indentation point was obtained in the 3D space determined by the DICOM dataset. The area underneath the indentation point was calculated by a trilinear interpolation method directly. Data in HU and correlations with the indentation strength and stiffness were analysed.


A positive correlation was found between HU and strength (r = 0.52) and between HU and stiffness (r = 0.41). Overall, mechanical strength and stiffness and HU in the superior endplate of the caudal vertebra were lower than those in the inferior endplate of the cranial vertebra in the same intervertebral disc.


The mechanical properties and the HU were found to be significantly correlated, which employed a novel 3D HU measurement method, thus demonstrating potential to predict cervical endplate failure risk in a clinical setting.

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