Biomechanical Analysis of Cervical Stabilization Systems: An Assessment of Transpedicular Screw Fixation in the Cervical Spine

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Abstract

Study Design

The biomechanical stability of seven cervical reconstruction methods including the transpedicular screw fixation was evaluated under four instability patterns. These four modalities, based on the range and grade of instability, allowed a reproducible biomechanical assessment to establish the in vitro role of internal fixation in the cervical spine.

Objectives

This study biomechanically investigated the stability of seven reconstruction methods in the cervical spine as influenced by four instability patterns and assessed whether three-column fixation for the cervical spine using transpedicula screw fixation for the cervical spine using transpedicular screw fixation would provide increased stability over that of conventional cervical fixation systems.

Methods

A total of 24 calf cervical spine specimens were divided into four experimental groups. The spinal constructs including seven reconstruction techniques-the posterior AO titanium reconstruction plate, Bohlman's posterior triple-wiring, transpedicular screw fixation, anterior illac bone graft, anterior AcroMed plate, anterior AO titanium locking plate, and combined fixation with the AO anterior plate and posterior triple-wir-ing—were tested under four loading modes.

Results

Anterior plating methods provided less stability than that of posterior constructs under axial, torsional, and flexural loading conditions. Exclusive posterior procedures provided increased stability compared with the intact spine in one level fixation, however, did not sustain the torsional stability when the anterior and middle column was eliminated in two-level fixation. The stabilizing capabilities of both the combined fixation and transpedicular screw fixation were clearly demonstrated in all loading modes, however, those of the latter were superior in multilevel fixation.

Conclusion

Front and back approaches, employing the anterior plate and posterior triple-wiring, and transpedicular screw fixation demonstrated clear biomechanical advantages when the extent of instability increased to three-column or multilevel. Three-column fixation for the cervical spine using transpedicular screw fixation offers increased stability over that of conventional cervical fixation systems, particularly in multiple level constructs

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