The Effects of Immobilization of Long Segments of the Spine on the Adjacent and Distal Facet Force and Lumbosacral Motion

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Long levels of spinal instrumentation and fusion are common in surgery for spinal deformity, the effect on the remaining mobile segments is not wall understood. The changes in lumbar facet loading and lumbosacral motion were valuated as the number of immobilized levels increased. Four fresh canine cadaveric spines from T6 to sacrum were used. Lumbosacral motion was measured with an instrumented spatial linkage device, and facet loads wars measured at L1, L4, and L7 using a strain gauge technique. Lumbosacral motion and facet loading were significantly increased (P < 0.05) after immobilization of proximal segments, and the amount of the increase was dependent on the number at immobilized segments (P <0.05)This indicates that immobilization of long segments of the spine influences the remaining mobile segments by increasing the load and motion not only at the immediately adjacent segment but also at the distal segments.

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