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Calvin C. Kuo, Audrey Martin, Connor Telles, Jeremi Leasure, Alex Iezza, Christopher Ames and Dimitriy Kondrashov

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the forces placed on posterior fusion instrumentation by 3 commonly used intraoperative techniques to restore lumbar lordosis: 1) cantilever bending; 2) in situ bending; and 3) compression and/or distraction of screws along posterior fusion rods.

METHODS

Five cadaveric torsos were instrumented with pedicle screws at the L1–5 levels. Specimens underwent each of the 3 lordosis restoration procedures. The pedicle screw pullout force was monitored in real time via strain gauges that were mounted unilaterally at each level. The degree of correction was noted through fluoroscopic imaging. The peak loads experienced on the screws during surgery, total demand on instrumentation, and resting loads after corrective maneuvers were measured.

RESULTS

A mean overall lordotic correction of 10.9 ± 4.7° was achieved. No statistically significant difference in lordotic correction was observed between restoration procedures. In situ bending imparted the largest loads intraoperatively with an average of 1060 ± 599.9 N, followed by compression/distraction (971 ± 534.1 N) and cantilever bending (705 ± 413.0 N). In situ bending produced the largest total demand and postoperative loads at L-1 (1879 ± 1064.1 and 487 ± 118.8 N, respectively), which were statistically higher than cantilever bending and compression/distraction (786 ± 272.1 and 138 ± 99.2 N, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

In situ bending resulted in the highest mechanical demand on posterior lumbar instrumentation, as well as the largest postoperative loads at L-1. These results suggest that the forces generated with in situ bending indicate a greater chance of intraoperative instrumentation failure and postoperative proximal pedicle screw pullout when compared with cantilever bending and/or compression/distraction options. The results are aimed at optimizing correction and fusion strategies in lordosis restoration cases.

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Jacqueline Nguyen, Bryant Chu, Calvin C. Kuo, Jeremi M. Leasure, Christopher Ames and Dimitriy Kondrashov

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with or without partial uncovertebral joint resection (UVR) and posterior keyhole foraminotomy are established operative procedures to treat cervical disc degeneration and radiculopathy. Studies have demonstrated reliable results with each procedure, but none have compared the change in neuroforaminal area between indirect and direct decompression techniques. The purpose of this study was to determine which cervical decompression method most consistently increases neuroforaminal area and how that area is affected by neck position.

METHODS

Eight human cervical functional spinal units (4 each of C5–6 and C6–7) underwent sequential decompression. Each level received the following surgical treatment: bilateral foraminotomy, ACDF, ACDF + partial UVR, and foraminotomy + ACDF. Multidirectional pure moment flexibility testing combined with 3D C-arm imaging was performed after each procedure to measure the minimum cross-sectional area of each foramen in 3 different neck positions: neutral, flexion, and extension.

RESULTS

Neuroforaminal area increased significantly with foraminotomy versus intact in all positions. These area measurements did not change in the ACDF group through flexion-extension. A significant decrease in area was observed for ACDF in extension (40 mm2) versus neutral (55 mm2). Foraminotomy + ACDF did not significantly increase area compared with foraminotomy in any position. The UVR procedure did not produce any changes in area through flexion-extension.

CONCLUSIONS

All procedures increased neuroforaminal area. Foraminotomy and foraminotomy + ACDF produced the greatest increase in area and also maintained the area in extension more than anterior-only procedures. The UVR procedure did not significantly alter the area compared with ACDF alone. With a stable cervical spine, foraminotomy may be preferable to directly decompress the neuroforamen; however, ACDF continues to play an important role for indirect decompression and decompression of more centrally located herniated discs. These findings pertain to bony stenosis of the neuroforamen and may not apply to soft disc herniation. The key points of this study are as follows. Both ACDF and foraminotomy increase the foraminal space. Foraminotomy was most successful in maintaining these increases during neck motion. Partial UVR was not a significant improvement over ACDF alone. Foraminotomy may be more efficient at decompressing the neuroforamen. Results should be taken into consideration only with stable spines.