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  • Author or Editor: Prasad Vannemreddy x
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Ali Nourbakhsh, Prashant Chittiboina, Prasad Vannemreddy, Anil Nanda and Bharat Guthikonda

Object

Transpedicular thoracic vertebrectomy (TTV) is a safe alternative to the more standard transthoracic approach. A TTV is most commonly used to address vertebral body fractures due to tumor or trauma.

Transpedicular reconstruction of the anterior column with cage/bone traditionally requires unilateral thoracic nerve root sacrifice. In a cadaveric model, the authors evaluated the feasibility of transpedicular anterior column reconstruction without nerve root sacrifice. If feasible, this may be a reasonable approach that could be extended to the lumbar spine where nerve root sacrifice is not an option.

Methods

A TTV was performed in 8 fixed cadaveric specimens. In each specimen, an alternate vertebra (either odd or even) was removed so that single-level reconstruction could be evaluated. The vertebrectomy included facetectomy, adjacent discectomies, and laminectomy; however, the nerve roots were preserved. The authors then evaluated the feasibility of inserting a titanium mesh cage (Medtronic Sofamor Danek) without neural sacrifice.

Results

Transpedicular anterior cage reconstruction could be safely performed at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice. The internerve root space varied from 18 mm at T2–3 to 27 mm at T11–12; thus, the size of the cage that was used also varied with level.

Conclusions

Cage reconstruction of the anterior column could be safely performed via the transpedicular approach without nerve root sacrifice in this cadaveric study. Removal of the proximal part of the rib in addition to a standard laminectomy with transpedicular vertebrectomy provided an excellent corridor for anterior cage reconstruction at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice.

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Prashant Chittiboina, Esther Wylen, Alan Ogden, Debi P. Mukherjee, Prasad Vannemreddy and Anil Nanda

Object

Surgical management of unstable traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis includes both posterior and anterior fusion methods. The authors performed a biomechanical study to evaluate the relative stability of anterior fixation at C2–3 and posterior fixation of C-1 through C-3 in hangman's fractures.

Methods

Fresh-frozen cadaveric spine specimens (occipital level to T-2) were subjected to stepwise destabilization of the C1–2 complex, replicating a Type II hangman's fracture. Intact specimens, fractured specimens, and fractured specimens with either anterior screw and plate or posterior screw and rod fixation were each tested for stability. Each spine was subjected to separate right and left rotation, bending, flexion, and extension testing.

Results

Anterior fixation restored stiffness in flexion and extension movements to values greater than those for intact specimens. For other movement parameters, the values approximated those for intact specimens. Posterior fixation increased the stiffness to above those values seen for anterior fixation specimens.

Conclusions

In cadaveric spine specimens subjected to a Type II hangman's fracture, both anterior fixation at C2–3 and posterior fixation with C-1 lateral mass screws and C-2 and C-3 pedicle screws resulted in a consistent increase in stiffness, and hence in stability, over intact specimens.