Jakub Godzik, Bernardo de Andrada Pereira, Anna G. U. Sawa, Jennifer N. Lehrman, Randall J. Hlubek, Brian P. Kelly, and Jay D. Turner
The objective of this study was to evaluate a novel connector design and compare it with traditional side connectors, such as a fixed-angle connector (FAC) and a variable-angle connector (VAC), with respect to lumbosacral stability and instrumentation strain.
Standard nondestructive flexibility tests (7.5 Nm) and compression tests (400 N) were performed using 7 human cadaveric specimens (L1–ilium) to compare range of motion (ROM) stability, posterior rod strain (RS), and sacral screw bending moment (SM). Directions of motion included flexion, extension, left and right lateral bending, left and right axial rotation, and compression. Conditions included 1) the standard 2-rod construct (2R); 2) the dual-tulip head (DTH) with 4-rod construct (4R); 3) FACs with 4R; and 4) VACs with 4R. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA.
Overall, there were no statistically significant differences in ROM across the lumbosacral junction among conditions (p > 0.07). Compared with 2R, DTH and FAC significantly reduced RS in extension, left axial rotation, and compression (p ≤ 0.03). VAC significantly decreased RS compared with 2R in flexion, extension, left axial rotation, right axial rotation, and compression (p ≤ 0.03), and significantly decreased RS compared with DTH in extension (p = 0.02). DTH was associated with increased SM in left and right axial rotation compared with 2R (p ≤ 0.003) and in left and right lateral bending and left and right axial rotation compared with FAC and VAC (p ≤ 0.02). FAC and VAC were associated with decreased SM compared with 2R in right and left lateral bending (p ≤ 0.03).
RS across the lumbosacral junction can be high. Supplemental rod fixation with DTH is an effective strategy for reducing RS across the lumbosacral junction. However, the greatest reduction in RS and SM was achieved with a VAC that allowed for straight (uncontoured) accessory rod placement.
Hakan Bozkuş, Mehmet Şenoğlu, Seungwon Baek, Anna G. U. Sawa, Ali Fahir Özer, Volker K. H. Sonntag, and Neil R. Crawford
It is unclear how the biomechanics of dynamic posterior lumbar stabilization systems and traditional rigid pedicle screw-rod systems differ. This study examined the biomechanical response of a hinged-dynamic pedicle screw compared with a standard rigid screw used in a 1-level pedicle screw-rod construct.
Unembalmed human cadaveric L3–S1 segments were tested intact, after L4–5 discectomy, after rigid pedicle screw-rod fixation, and after dynamic pedicle screw-rod fixation. Specimens were loaded using pure moments to induce flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation while recording motion optoelectronically. Specimens were then loaded in physiological flexion-extension while applying 400 N of compression. Moment and force across instrumentation were recorded from pairs of strain gauges mounted on the interconnecting rods.
The hinged-dynamic screws allowed an average of 160% greater range of motion during flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation than standard rigid screws (p < 0.03) but 30% less motion than normal. When using standard screws, bending moments and axial loads on the rods were greater than the bending moments and axial loads on the rods when using dynamic screws during most loading modes (p < 0.05). The axis of rotation shifted significantly posteriorly more than 10 mm from its normal position with both devices.
In a 1-level pedicle screw-rod construct, hinged-dynamic screws allowed a quantity of motion that was substantially closer to normal motion than that allowed by rigid pedicle screws. Both systems altered kinematics similarly. Less load was borne by the hinged screw construct, indicating that the hinged-dynamic screws allow less stress shielding than standard rigid screws.
Bruno C. R. Lazaro, Fatih Ersay Deniz, Leonardo B. C. Brasiliense, Phillip M. Reyes, Anna G. U. Sawa, Nicholas Theodore, Volker K. H. Sonntag, and Neil R. Crawford
Posterior screw-rod fixation for thoracic spine trauma usually involves fusion across long segments. Biomechanical data on screw-based short-segment fixation for thoracic fusion are lacking. The authors compared the effects of spanning short and long segments in the thoracic spine.
Seven human spine segments (5 segments from T-2 to T-8; 2 segments from T-3 to T-9) were prepared. Pure-moment loading of 6 Nm was applied to induce flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation while 3D motion was measured optoelectronically. Normal specimens were tested, and then a wedge fracture was created on the middle vertebra after cutting the posterior ligaments. Five conditions of instrumentation were tested, as follows: Step A, 4-level fixation plus cross-link; Step B, 2-level fixation; Step C, 2-level fixation plus cross-link; Step D, 2-level fixation plus screws at fracture site (index); and Step E, 2-level fixation plus index screws plus cross-link.
Long-segment fixation restricted 2-level range of motion (ROM) during extension and lateral bending significantly better than the most rigid short-segment construct. Adding index screws in short-segment constructs significantly reduced ROM during flexion, lateral bending, and axial rotation (p < 0.03). A cross-link reduced axial rotation ROM (p = 0.001), not affecting other loading directions (p > 0.4).
Thoracic short-segment fixation provides significantly less stability than long-segment fixation for the injury studied. Adding a cross-link to short fixation improved stability only during axial rotation. Adding a screw at the fracture site improved short-segment stability by an average of 25%.
Fatih Ersay Deniz, Leonardo B. C. Brasiliense, Bruno C. R. Lazaro, Phillip M. Reyes, Anna G. U. Sawa, Volker K. H. Sonntag, and Neil R. Crawford
The authors investigated the biomechanical properties of transpedicular discectomy in the thoracic spine and compared the effects on spinal stability of a partial and total facetectomy.
Human thoracic specimens were tested while intact, after a transpedicular discectomy with partial facetectomy, and after an additional total facetectomy was incorporated. Nonconstraining pure moments were applied under load control (maximum 7.5 Nm) to induce flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation while spinal motion was measured at T8–9 optoelectronically. The range of motion (ROM) and lax zone were determined in each specimen and compared among conditions.
Transpedicular discectomy with and without a total facetectomy significantly increased the ROM and lax zone in all directions of loading compared with the intact spine (p < 0.008). The segmental increase in ROM observed with the transpedicular discectomy was 25%. The additional total facetectomy created an insignificant 3% further increase in ROM compared with medial facetectomy (p > 0.2).
Transpedicular discectomy can be performed in the thoracic spine with a modest decrease in stability expected. Because the biomechanical behavior of a total facetectomy is equivalent to that of a medial facetectomy, the additional facet removal may be incorporated without further biomechanical consequences.