Object. The authors conducted a study to determine if the rigidity supplied to the spine by posterior placement of the Ray threaded fusion cage (TFC) is further enhanced by the placement of pedicle screws and, additionally, if bilateral anteriorly placed TFCs render the spine more rigid than a single anteriorly placed TFC.
Methods. Ten human cadaveric spinal specimens (L2—S1) were affixed within a testing frame. Loads of 1.5, 3, 4.5, and 6 Nm were applied to the spine in six degrees of freedom: flexion—extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation. Motion in an x, y, and z cartesian axis system was tracked using dual video cameras following light-emitting diodes attached to the spine and base plate. Load testing of the spines was performed in the intact mode, following which the spinal segments were randomized to receive anterior or posterior instrumentation. In five spine specimens we performed posterior discectomy, posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with placment of femoral rings and pedicle screws, PLIF with bilateral TFCs, and bilateral TFCs with pedicle screws. Five other spines underwent anterior-approach discectomy, followed by implantation of a unilateral cage and bilateral cages. Load testing was performed after each step.
Conclusion. Spines in which PLIF with pedicle screws and TFCs with pedicle screws were placed were more rigid than after discectomy in all directions of motion except flexion. Anterior discectomy provided significantly (p ≤ 0.05) less stability in left and right axial rotation than the intact spines and following posterior discectomy. Following anterior implantation of bilateral TFCs, spines were significantly more rigid than after discectomy in all directions except extension.