Object. The goal of this study was to develop a novel dynamic model for experimental spinal cord compression that closely approximates neoplastic epidural compression of the spinal cord in humans.
Methods. In 30 New Zealand white rabbits, the thoracic spine was exposed via a posterior approach. On each side of one vertebral lamina a small hole was drilled caudal to the articular process. A silicone band was passed through these holes, forming a loop. The spinal dura mater was exposed via an interlaminar approach. The loop was brought into contact with the dura mater and fixed in its position encircling 270° of the circumference of the spinal cord. Thereafter, the loop was gradually tightened at set times by pulling at the ends of the band and fixing them again in their new position. The spinal cord was thus increasingly compressed in a circular and dynamic manner.
Neurological deficits of various degrees were created in all animals in the compression group, and the compressive effect of the loop was reliably demonstrated on MR imaging. After decompression of the spinal cord, the neurological deficits were reversible in the majority of animals, and MR imaging revealed either no signal changes or only circumscribed ones within the cord. In contrast, MR images obtained in animals that did not recover revealed the occurrence of extensive chronic myelopathy.
Conclusions. This novel model features reproducibility of paresis and neurological recovery. It is a dynamic model simulating circular tumor growth and is characterized by its easy, straightforward, and cost-saving applicability.