Patients with skipped-level disk degeneration (SLDD) were recently reported as having a higher prevalence of Schmorl's nodes than patients with contiguous multi-level disk degeneration (CMDD). Fourteen versions of a nonlinear finite element model of a lumbar spine, representing different patterns of single and multi-level disk degeneration, were simulated under physiological loading. Results show that vertebral strain energy is a possible predictor in the development of Schmorl's nodes. The analysis also shows evidence that the development of Schmorl's nodes may be highly dependent on the location of the degeneration disk, with a higher prevalence at superior levels of the lumbar spine.

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