Biomechanical Analysis of Cervical and Thoracolumbar Spine Motion in Intact and Partially and Completely Unstable Cadaver Spine Models With Kinetic Bed Therapy or Traditional Log Roll

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The main comorbidities associated with spinal cord injury patients are secondary to immobilization. Kinetic bed therapy is used currently to reduce the complications associated with immobilization, but the effect on the unstable spine has not been quantified. The purpose of this study was to compare the motion in the cervical and thoracolumbar spine when cadavers with spinal instabilities are log rolled (LR) on a standard hospital bed or rotated on a RotoRest kinetic treatment table (KTT).


Cervical and lumbar instabilities were created surgically in three embalmed cadavers. An electromagnetic tracking device was used to measure the three-dimensional segmental motion generated at C5 to C6 and T12 to L2 during LR and KTT treatments.


In both the cervical and lumbar spine, significantly more motion was observed during LR than KTT treatment.


We found that in cadavers with severely unstable cervical spine, rotation using a KTT produced less flexion and lateral bending than the LR. Also, in cadavers with severely unstable lumbar spine, treatment with the KTT produced less axial rotation than the LR. Currently, we think that the best way to immobilize the spine while still allowing therapeutic motion is through the use of a KTT.

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