Biomechanical Effects of Transverse Partial Sacrectomy on the Sacroiliac Joints: An In Vitro Human Cadaveric Investigation of the Borderline of Sacroiliac Joint Instability

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Study Design.

In vitro laboratory study.


To measure the effects of transverse partial sacrectomies on the compressive and torsional stiffness of the sacroiliac joints.

Summary of Background Data.

Surgical treatment for sacral tumor of different location and nature includes partial or complete sacrectomy. Though the biomechanical investigations about the local destructive force of residual sacrum after partial sacrectomy have been reported, biomechanical properties of the residual sacroiliac joints after different transverse partial sacrectomies remain unknown.


Seven fresh human cadaveric L5-pelves with normal bone mineral density were used in this study. Each specimen was tested in intact condition first, followed by a series of segmental transverse partial sacrectomies: under S2 partial sacrectomy (U-S2); U-½S2; U-S1; U-½S1; and right side sacroiliac joint resection (one-side). A material testing machine was used to apply 800 N compression and 7 Nm torsion loads through the L5/S1 joint. The resected dimensional area of sacroiliac joints and structural stiffness of the residual sacroiliac joints were analyzed.


Average percentages of the resected area of sacroiliac joints were 8.4% in U-S2, 15.1% in U-½S2, 24.8% in U-S1, and 72.3% in U-½S1, respectively. In compression U-S2 ∼ one-side preserved 98.7%, 97.1%, 94.4%, 82.9%, and 55.2% of the initial stiffness of the sacroiliac joint, respectively. No significant differences were detected among intact, U-S2, U-½S2, and U-S1 (P > 0.05). However, compressive stiffness of U-½S1 and one-side was markedly less than that of intact, U-S2, and U-½S2 (P < 0.05). In Torsion U-S2 ∼ one-side preserved 90.7%, 88.5%, 81.9%, 71.9%, and 44.5% of the initial sacroiliac joint stiffness, respectively. No significant differences were demonstrated among intact, U-S2, and U-½S2 (P > 0.05); However, U-S1, U-½S1 and one-side exhibited significantly less torsional stiffness than intact and U-S2 (P < 0.05).


In surgical treatment of distal sacral tumor, transverse partial sacrectomy involving S1 could result in rotational instability, and the resection level beyond ½S1 further led to compressive instability. When the sacrectomy was at or above the S1/2 level, local reconstruction should be considered.

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