BackgroundIn current clinical practice, the most commonly used fusion cage materials are titanium (Ti) alloys. However, titanium alloys are non-degradable and may cause stress shielding. ZK60 is a bio-absorbable implant that can effectively avoid long-term complications, such as stress shielding effects, implant displacement, and foreign body reactions. In this study, we aimed at investigating the biomechanical behavior of the cervical spine after implanting different interbody fusion cages.MethodsThe finite element (FE) models of anterior cervical disc removal and bone graft fusion (ACDF) with a ZK60 cage and a Ti cage were constructed, respectively. Simulations were performed to evaluate their properties of flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation of the cervical spine. Moreover, a side-by-side comparison was conducted on the range of motion (ROM), the deformation of cages, the stress in the cages, bone grafts, and cage-end plate interface. Simultaneously, according to the biomechanical analysis results, the microporous structure of the ZK60 cage was improved by the lattice topology optimization technology and validation using static structure.ResultsThe ROMs in the current study were comparable with the results reported in the literature. There was no significant difference in the deformation of the two cages under various conditions. Moreover, the maximum stress occurred at the rear of the cage in all cases. The cage’s and endplate-cage interface’s stress of the ZK60 group was reduced compared with the Ti cage, while the bone graft stress in the ZK60 fusion cage was significantly greater than that in the Ti fusion cage (average 27.70%). We further optimized the cage by filling it with lattice structures, the volume was decreased by 40%, and validation showed more significant biomechanical properties than ZK60 and Ti cages.ConclusionThe application of the ZK60 cage can significantly increase the stress stimulation to the bone graft by reducing the stress shielding effect between the two instrumented bodies. We also observed that the stress of the endplate-cage interface decreased as the reduction of the cage’s stiffness, indicating that subsidence is less likely to occur in the cage with lower stiffness. Moreover, we successfully designed a porous cage based on the biomechanical load by lattice optimization.