Biomechanical Comparison of Spinopelvic Reconstruction Techniques in the Setting of Total Sacrectomy

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Study Design.

An in vitro biomechanical study.


To biomechanically test and evaluate 4 different methods of spinopelvic reconstruction techniques and determine the most biomechanically stable construct for stabilization of the spinopelvic junction after total sacrectomy.

Summary of Background Data.

Total sacrectomy is necessary to treat a sacral tumor when it involves the S1 vertebra. Instrumentation and reconstruction of the lumbar spine and pelvis are required after total sacrectomy and can be achieved by various reconstruction techniques. Currently, the preferred method of spinopelvic fixation is controversial.


Seven human cadaveric (L1-pelvis) specimens were evaluated in flexion-extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation in a total sacrectomy model. Test constructs included (1) intact; (2) double-rod, double iliac screw (DDS); (3) single-rod, single iliac screw (SSS); (4) double iliac screw (DIS) fixation; and (5) modified Galveston technique (MGT). A load control protocol with 7.0 Nm moments applied at a rate of 1.5°/s was used to establish range of motion values for each tested construct on a 6-df spine motion simulator. Data were analyzed and normalized to intact.


All instrumented constructs offered significant stability in all loading conditions compared with the intact condition. Stability offered by different constructs in all loading conditions trended as follows: DDS>DIS>SSS>MGT. Overall, the DDS construct provided 55%, 43%, and 60% more stability than SSS, DIS, and MGT, respectively. This was significant in flexion-extension when compared with SSS and in all loading conditions when compared with MGT.


In the setting of total sacrectomy, the double-rod double iliac screw method provided the most rigid fixation, followed by DIS fixation, single-rod single screw, and the MGT. In spinopelvic reconstruction, the use of double iliac screws is recommended compared with single iliac screw fixation techniques when treating unstable conditions caused by total sacrectomy.

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