Susanne Van Engelen
VU University, Netherlands
RESEARCH GOALS: Ms. Van Engelen and the research team at VU University are working to more effectively treat instability created by degeneration and injury that can lead to spinal disorders and pain.
- Establish the exact location and severity of segmental instability.
- Compare stiffness information from adjacent segments.
- Confirm that knowledge will help to detect instable segments.
MSC Research Assist Award: Ms. Van Engelen and VU University were awarded MSC Nastran | Patran, SimXpert, Marc and Adams to conduct modal testing on the mechanical properties of the lumbar spine.
Bio: Ms. Van Engelen holds an MSc in Industrial Design Engineering, with an emphasis in ergonomics, medical technology and biomechanics from the University of Technology Delft.
While working as a research assistant at the Department of Radiology of the Sophia Childrens hospital in Erasum Medical Center Rotterdam, she was granted a scholarship to attend VU University and is currently pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences.
July 2012 - Ms. Van Engelen presented her research at the 15th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics - July 2012. Download the poster.
Application of MSC Solutions
- The spines of 6 Dutch milk goats were obtained, cleaned and transferred to a computer tomographic scanner to obtain images of the vertebrae.
- The images were segmented using dedicated software and a 3D-model of each vertebrae of each spine was created.
- The volumes were meshed and material properties were assigned based on a calibration phantom for mass density that was inserted with the spines in the scanner.
- The resulting finite element model was imported into MSC Software’s Patran to determine the rigid body mass matrix of each vertebra.
- The mass properties and geometrical information was used to parameterize an analytical vibration model of the lumbar spine intended for model updating.
- It is now possible to obtain information on intervertebral stiffness in dissected lumbar spines, using structural vibration tests.
- Building on these results, future research should be directed towards the application of vibration testing in low-back pain patients to determine if their symptoms are caused by alterations in intervertebral stiffness.