A biomechanical comparison of supplementary posterior translaminar facet and transfacetopedicular screw fixation after anterior lumbar interbody fusion

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California; and Department of Neurosurgery, Hallym University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
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Object. Facet screw fixation is the lowest profile lumbar stabilization method. In this study the immediate biomechanical stability provided by the two different types of fixation are compared: translaminar facet screw (TLFS) and transfacetopedicular screw (TFPS) placement after anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) using a femoral ring allograft. Both facet screw fixation types were also compared with the gold standard, transpedicular screw and rod (TSR) fixation.

Methods. Twenty-four human lumbosacral spines were tested in the following sequence: intact state, after discectomy, after ALIF, and after TLFS, TFPS, or TSR fixation. Intervertebral motions were measured by a video-based motion capture system. The range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ) were compared for each loading to a maximum of 7.5 Nm.

The ROMs for stand-alone ALIFs were less than but similar to those of the intact spine, but NZs were slightly increased in all modes. The ROMs for both TLFS and TFPS fixation were significantly decreased from those of the intact spine in all modes and those of the stand-alone ALIF in flexion and extension. The TLFS and TFPS fixations significantly reduced NZs to below that of the intact spine in all modes. Compared with NZs for ALIF, both types of fixation revealed significantly lower values, except for TLFS placement in lateral bending and TFPS fixation in lateral bending and rotation. There were no significant differences between TLFS and TFPS fixation. There were also no significant differences among both TLFS and TFPS and TSR fixations, except that TFPS was inferior to TSR in lateral bending.

Conclusions. Stand-alone ALIF may not provide sufficient stability. Both facet fixations produced significant additional stability and both are comparable to TSR fixation. Although TFPS fixation revealed a slightly inferior result, TFPSs can be placed percutaneously with the assistance of fluoroscopic guidance and it makes the posterior facet fixation minimally invasive. Therefore, the TFPS fixation can be considered as a good alternative to TLFS fixation.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Daniel H. Kim, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Room R-201, Edwards Building, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, California 94305–5327. email: neurokim@stanford.edu
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