Electrical stimulation devices can be used as adjunct therapy to lumbar spinal fusion to promote bone healing, but their adoption has been hindered by the large battery packs necessary to provide power. Piezoelectric composite materials within a spinal interbody cage to produce power in response to physiological lumbar loads have recently been investigated. A piezoelectric macro-fiber composite spinal interbody generated sufficient power to stimulate bone growth in a pilot ovine study, despite fabrication challenges. The objective of the present study was to electromechanically evaluate three new piezoelectric disc composites, 15-disc insert, seven-disc insert, and seven-disc Compliant Layer Adaptive Composite Stack (CLACS) insert, within a spinal interbody, and validate their use for electrical stimulation and promoting bone growth. All implants were electromechanically assessed under cyclic loads of 1000 N at 2 Hz, representing physiological lumbar loading. All three configurations produced at least as much power as the piezoelectric macro-fiber composites, validating the use of piezoelectric discs for this application. Future work is needed to characterize the electromechanical performance of commercially manufactured piezoelectric stacks under physiological lumbar loads, and mechanically assess the composite implants according to FDA guidelines for lumbar interbody fusion devices.
Cadel, E.S.; Krech, E.D.; Arnold, P.M.; Friis, E.A. Stacked PZT Discs Generate Necessary Power for Bone Healing through Electrical Stimulation in a Composite Spinal Fusion Implant. Bioengineering 2018, 5, 90.
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