Ovine lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration model utilizing a lateral retroperitoneal drill bit injury

Kai-Zheong Lim, Christopher D. Daly, Peter Ghosh, Graham Jenkin, David Oehme, Justin Cooper-White, Taryn Naidoo, Tony Goldschlager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Intervertebral disc degeneration is a significant contributor to the development of back pain and the leading cause of disability worldwide. Numerous animal models of intervertebral disc degeneration have been developed. The ideal animal model should closely mimic the human intervertebral disc with regard to morphology, biomechanical properties and the absence of notochordal cells. The sheep lumbar intervertebral disc model fulfils these criteria. We present an ovine model of intervertebral disc degeneration utilizing a drill bit injury through a lateral retroperitoneal approach. The lateral approach significantly reduces the incision and potential morbidity associated with the traditional anterior approach to the ovine spine. Utilization of a drill-bit method of injury affords the ability to produce a consistent and reproducible injury, of precise dimensions, that initiates a consistent degree of intervertebral disc degeneration. The focal nature of the annular and nucleus pulposus defect more closely mimics the clinical condition of focal intervertebral disc herniation. Sheep recover rapidly following this procedure and are typically mobile and eating within the hour. Intervertebral disc degeneration ensues and sheep undergo necropsy and subsequent analysis at periods from eight weeks. We believe that the drill bit injury model of intervertebral disc degeneration offers advantages over more conventional annular injury models.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55753
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number123
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2017


  • Degenerative spine
  • Drill bit
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Issue 123
  • Lumbar
  • Medicine
  • Sheep
  • Spine

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