Stability of Lumbar Fusion With Transpedicular Fixation Determined by Roentgen Stereophotogrammetric Analysis

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Abstract

Study Design.

An evaluation of the intervertebral stability of transpedicular instrumentation in posterolateral lumbar fusions by roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis.

Objectives.

To determine the in vivo intervertebral stability of posterolateral lumbar fusions augmented with transpedicular screws and plates.

Summary of Background Data.

Transpedicular bone screw systems have been found to be as safe and clinically effective as other types of devices in stabilizing surgery of the spine. Many experimental studies have yielded basic data on the stabilizing implant effect in vitro, but the exact in vivo stabilizing effect on human lumbar vertebrae has not been presented previously.

Methods.

In 12 patients, the intervertebral stability of posterolateral fusion in the lower lumbar spine augmented with transpedicular screws and plates was evaluated by serial roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis with the patients in supine and erect positions 1 year after surgery.

Results.

Screws in each fused vertebra yielded stable fixation or permitted sagittal intervertebral translations smaller than 1 mm induced by the positional change. A widely decompressed and destabilized vertebra without screw fixation yielded persisting intervertebral translations.

Conclusions.

The current study demonstrated the adequacy of in vivo stability of lumbar fusions augmented with transpedicular screws and plates. Sagittal translation seems easier to elicit than movements along the other three-dimensional axes. A widely decompressed and destabilized vertebra without screw fixation increases the risk for persisting intervertebral translations. The roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis technique described seems to be a good way of comparing the in vivo behavior of different implant systems.

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