Effect of removing the nucleus pulposus on the deformation of the annulus fibrosus during compression of the intervertebral disc

J R Meakin, D W L Hukins

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Eighteen frozen ovine discs were bisected, in the mid-sagittal plane. to produce 36 specimens. The cut surfaces were marked at the inner and outer annulus boundaries of the annulus fibrosus, both anteriorly and posteriorly, with Alcian blue stain. The sections were sealed by a transparent plate, and thawed. A compression of 1 mm at a rate of 0.2 mM s(-1) was applied. The displacements of the Alcian blue marks were measured from the video images, recorded during the tests, using interactive image analysis software. Before removal of the nucleus, the inner boundaries of the annulus moved outwards during compression (P < 0.001, anterior: P = 0.01, posterior). However, after removal of the nucleus, both inner boundaries moved inwards (P < 0.001, anterior and posterior). The outer boundaries moved outwards both before and after removal of the nucleus(P < 0.001). The results showed that total removal of the nucleus changes the response of the annulus to compression. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-580
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • annulus fibrosus
  • compression
  • intervertebral disc
  • nucleus pulposus

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