About the Yoganandan Laboratory
The Yoganandan Laboratory conducts transformational research studies in the field of biomechanics and neuroscience. Ongoing research utilizes computer and statistical models to develop personalized medicine for spinal disorders, develop response corridors and injury risk functions for the head and spine, and determine human head-spine responses under physiologic and traumatic loads.
Personalized Medicine for Cervical Spine Degeneration and Deformity Surgery
The Yoganandan Laboratory uses head-to-spine models to study the effectiveness of different surgical procedures. Head-to-spine studies include classical anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA). This research examines the role of CDA and ACDF on indexical and adjacent levels for clinical metrics, such as range of motion, and biomedical metrics, such as disc and facet load sharing. Areas of focus include heterotopic ossification, an unintended consequence of CDA, and accelerated adjacent-segment degeneration, which may lead to additional surgeries. Both single and contiguous two-level and hybrid options are being evaluated under physiological and traumatic forces. Our gender-specific computer finite element models of the head and neck with musculature can be morphed to mimic each patient’s anatomy. This allows us to depict the disorder/abnormal situation using MRI, elucidate different surgical options (CDAs and ACDFs), and simulate long-term spinal changes. These multimodal personalized medicine models can be used for patient education, and patient-specific models serve as another surgical decision-making tool for optimum selection and treatment of patients with cervical spine disc diseases such as degenerative spondylotic myelopathy (DCM).
This work is part of a CDMRP study funded by the US Department of Defense.
- Biomechanical effects of uncinate process excision in cervical disc arthroplasty
- Effect of heterotopic ossification after Bryan-cervical disc arthroplasty on adjacent level range of motion: A finite element study
- Comparison Study of Four Cervical Disk Arthroplasty Devices Using Finite Element Models.
- Influence of Cervical spine sagittal alignment on range of motion after corpectomy; a finite element study.
- Comparative Finite Element Modeling Study of Anterior Cervical Arthrodesis Versus Cervical Arthroplasty with Bryan Disc or Prodisc C.
Finite element model of intact spine, coronal view (top left); finite element model of spine with implantation of Bryan implant, Prestige-LP implant, Mobi-C implant, Secure-C implant (top center left to far right); finite element model of Bryan implant, Prestige-LP implant, Mobi-C implant and Secure-C implant (bottom left to right).
Personalized Medicine for Lumbar Spine Degeneration and Deformity Surgery
Following the concept of the head-neck study, a series of morphable lumbar spine-pelvis finite element models is being developed to study degenerative diseases and surgical options for the low back. Procedures such as anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF), and eXtreme lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF) with physiological biomechanical loads on each patient are simulated using finite element models. As above, this study is examining the role of different types of procedures on index and adjacent levels for clinical outcomes. Our computer models are morphable to mimic each patient’s anatomy depicting the abnormal/diseased spine using routine medical imaging (MRI), simulate models with different surgical options, and simulate long-term spinal changes. These personalized medicine models are useful for patient education and act as a surgical decision-making tool for optimum treatment of patients with lumbar spine disease.
This model is being used in the cited CDMRP grant for determining human tolerance to injury from events such as underbody blast and the role of body armor on spinal loading.
- Development and validation of osteoligamentous lumbar spine under complex loading conditions: A step towards patient-specific modeling
- Biomechanical investigation of lumbar interbody fusion techniques.
- Importance of neural foraminal narrowing in lumbar spine fractures of low AIS severity.
Intact lumbosacral spinal column (left) and models with different surgical options, including ALIF, PLIF and TLIF (right, top to bottom)
Biomedical Models and Neurotrauma
The Yoganandan Laboratory is collaborating with other investigators in the Zablocki VA Medical Center Laboratories on a series of studies delineating injury mechanisms and determining human tolerances. These studies are aimed at improving safety in real-world traumatic events, developing standardized testing methodologies, and establishing federal standards. They incorporate experimental models using pathological specimens, computerized whole-human body models, computerized regional models for areas such as head and spine, statistical risk analysis models, and field database analyses. Currently funded studies are focused on lumbar spine-pelvis injuries from vertical loading for automotive, military, aviation, and other applications.
This project is part of a series of studies on head and spine (and other body regions) for the US Department of Transporation (DOT), US Department of Defense (DOD), and others.
- Uncertainty Evaluations for Risk Assessment in Impact Injuries and Implications for Clinical Practice.
- Human Pelvis Injury Risk Curves from Underbody Blast Impact.
- Human Lumbar Spine Responses from Vertical Loading: Ranking of Forces Via Brier Score Metrics and Injury Risk Curves.
- Role of age and injury mechanism on cervical spine injury tolerance from head contact loading.
- Role of disc area and trabecular bone density on lumbar spinal column fracture risk curves under vertical impact.
- Upright Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Cervical Flexor/Extensor Musculature and Cervical Lordosis in Females After Helmet Wear.
Top image: Top row shows Coronal CT scan pre-test (left), coronal CT scan post-test showing injuries at the upper lumbar vertebrae (middle), and post-test photograph of the specimen in the coronal plane showing injuries, although to a less demonstrable extent, at the inferior level (right). Bottom row shows pre-test sagittal CT scan (left), post-test sagittal CT (middle), and post-test photograph of the specimen in the sagittal plane (right). Comparison demonstrates that CT images are more effective in showing the pathology in both planes.
Bottom image: Survival analysis-based injury risk curve with ±95% confidence intervals (dashed line) for lumbar spine fracture under axial loading.
Shared Facilities at ZVAMC Labs
Located on the Zablocki VA Medical Center Campus, the Yoganandan Laboratory enjoys the use of shared facilities specifically designed to support investigations into tissue and spine biomechanics, as well as related computational modeling and statistical validation.
Led by Dr. Narayan Yoganandan, the Yoganandan Lab works closely with internal collaborators from the Medical College of Wisconsin and shared engineering and research staff of the Zablocki VA Medical Center Laboratories. Meet just a few of these key individuals below.
Narayan Yoganandan, PhD
Professor & Chair of Biomechanics, Department of Neurosurgery; Orthopaedic Surgery; Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
Matthew D. Budde, PhD
Frank A. Pintar, PhD
Founding Chair, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering; Professor, Neurosurgery
Brian D. Stemper, PhD
Professor, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering; Neurosurgery
Aditya Vedantam, MD
Assistant Professor; Adjunct Faculty in Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, and Orthopedics
Calcaneus fracture pattern and severity: Role of local trabecular bone density.
(Chirvi S, Pahapill N, Yoganandan N, Curry W, Stemper B, Kleinberger M, Pintar FA.) J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2022 Oct;134:105332 PMID: 35987107 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85136013753 08/21/2022
Normalization technique to build patient specific muscle model in finite element head neck spine.
(Varghese V, Baisden J, Yoganandan N.) Med Eng Phys. 2022 Sep;107:103857 PMID: 36068040 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85134890990 09/07/2022
Cervical spine degeneration specific segmental angular rotational and displacements: A quantitative study.
(Somasundaram K, Cusick JF, Yoganandan N, Pintar FA.) Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2022 Jul;97:105688 PMID: 35661894 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85131117739 06/07/2022
Biomechanical Analysis of 3-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Under Physiologic Loads Using a Finite Element Model.
(Tan LA, Yoganandan N, Choi H, Purushothaman Y, Jebaseelan D, Bosco A.) Neurospine. 2022 Jun;19(2):385-392 PMID: 35577338 PMCID: PMC9260549 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85134049441 05/17/2022
Morphometry of lumbar muscles in the seated posture with weight-bearing MR scans
(Varghese V, Yoganandan N, Baisden J, Choi H, Banerjee A.) Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma. December 2022;35 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85140807080 12/01/2022
Comparison of small female occupant model responses with experimental data in a reclined posture.
(Umale S, Khandelwal P, Humm J, Pintar F, Yoganandan N.) Traffic Inj Prev. 2022;23(sup1):S211-S213 PMID: 36223530 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85139868411 10/13/2022
Mechanisms of cervical spine injury and coupling response with initial head rotated posture - implications for AIS coding.
(Yoganandan N, Baisden J, Humm J, Varghese V.) Traffic Inj Prev. 2022;23(sup1):S195-S198 PMID: 36215262 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85139922748 10/11/2022
Loading rate effect on tradeoff of fractures from pelvis to lumbar spine under axial impact loading.
(Yoganandan N, Moore J, Humm J, Pintar F, Baisden J, Barnes D, Loftis K.) Traffic Inj Prev. 2022;23(sup1):S26-S31 PMID: 36095155 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85138570361 09/13/2022
Normalization technique to build patient specific muscle model in finite element head neck spine
(Varghese V, Baisden J, Yoganandan N.) Medical Engineering and Physics. September 2022;107 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85134890990 09/01/2022
Interhemispheric Regional Strain Response of an Anatomically Accurate Finite Element Head Model
(Rooks TF, Baisden JL, Yoganandan N.) Proceedings of Science. 18 March 2022;395:359-360 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85127540482 03/18/2022
Segmental Motion Response Corridors of Female Cervical Spines from Gx accelerative loading
(Humm J, Purushothaman Y, Umale S, Yoganandan N.) Proceedings of Science. 18 March 2022;395:660-661 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85127560744 03/18/2022
Quantifying the Effect of Pelvis Fracture on Lumbar Spine Compression during High-rate Vertical Loading.
(Barnes DR, Yoganandan N, Moore J, Humm J, Pintar F, Loftis KL.) Stapp Car Crash J. 2021 Nov;65:189-216 PMID: 35512789 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85129346481 05/06/2022
Educational Opportunities in Biomedical Engineering
Researchers seeking Graduate-level opportunities at the cross-section of Trauma Biomechanics and Neuroscience are invited to explore opportunities in the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, as well as the Neuroscience Doctoral Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Studies
Undergraduate and high school students interested in gaining research experience in neuroscience and biomedical engineering labs are invited to explore undergraduate research opportunities supported by the Zablocki VA Medical Center Laboratories.
ZVAMC Educational Opportunities
For general inquiries or to learn more about employment or ongoing research, please contact ZVAMC Labs Project Coordinator, Christy Stadig.