Effect of Graded Facetectomy on Biomechanics of Dynesys Dynamic Stabilization System

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Abstract

Study Design.

Finite element (FE) method was used to compare the biomechanics of L3–S1 lumbar spine with graded facetectomy before and after placement of Dynesys.

Objective.

To evaluate the biomechanics of Dynesys as a function of graded bilateral facetectomies.

Summary of Background Data.

Spinal fusion or posterior dynamic stabilization systems are used to restore stability after facetectomies.

Methods.

The intact FE spine was modified to simulate decompression at L4–L5 with 50% and 75% and total facetectomy with/without dynamic stabilization with Dynesys. Biomechanics of the implanted level was investigated under different physiological loadings.

Results.

Total facetectomy increased the motion in extension (8.7° vs. 2.7° for intact) and axial rotation (8.4° vs. 2.4° for intact). However the decrease in motion in the Dynesys model ranged from 65% in axial rotation to 80% in flexion for all facetectomies, except in the total facetectomy axial rotation case (motion higher than intact). The center of rotation of dynamic stabilized segment moved inferior/posterior in partial facetectomy and superior/posterior in total facetectomy with respect to the intact and destabilized cases. The Dynesys screws observed peak stresses up to 28% higher than those of a rigid fixation system in certain loadings, such as lateral bending and extension. The critical loosening torque applied to the screws in total facetectomy case was 6 times the partial facetectomy case in axial rotation.

Conclusion.

Partial facetectomy had a minimal effect on range of motion on the Dynesys-implanted segment. However, in the case of total facetectomy the motion increased by almost 40% in flexion and by 200% in axial rotation. The higher stresses applied to the screws in Dynesys in specific loadings may lead to higher risk of screw failure in Dynesys than in a generic rigid fixation construct.

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