Digital reconstructions of Yucatan minipig vertebrae
Spines were obtained from skeletally mature (18-24 mo) Yucatan minipigs. The animals were sacrificed for reasons unrelated to the current study. Two spines (one male, one female) were used to generate digital reconstructions of minipig vertebrae. Due to their clinical relevance with regard to facet joint degeneration in the human, the C6, C7, T4, T5, L5, and L6 levels were chosen for reconstruction. Spines were disarticulated and excess muscle and fat were removed. Segments were fixed in 10% buffered formalin and placed in 3% hydrogen peroxide until the specimens turned white. The spine segments were then scanned with the ATOS Core laser scanner using the corresponding GOM scan software (ZEISS, Oberkochen, Germany). Files were exported as .stl files, which were subsequently processed using Geomagic Design X (Artec 3D, Luxembourg, Luxembourg) using the mesh build-up wizard and rewrap function. Any remaining artifacts in the mesh were smoothened in Meshmixer (Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, CA) and resulting files were exported as .stl files. These reconstructions can aid surgical planning and the generation of 3D models for future shape-specific tissue-engineered facets.