Analysis and prevention of spinal column deformity following cervical laminectomy. I. Pathogenetic analysis of postlaminectomy deformities

T Saito, T Yamamuro, J Shikata, M Oka, S Tsutsumi
Spine 1991, 16 (5): 494-502
Postlaminectomy deformities were simulated in the cervical or cervicothoracic spine by the use of a displacement incremental method based on finite-element analysis combined with composite material and spanning element theory. The simulation analyses revealed that the primary cause of postlaminectomy deformity was the resection of one or more spinous processes and/or posterior ligaments (ie, ligamenta flava, supraspinous, and interspinous ligaments). After their removal, the tensile stresses that were preoperatively distributed through the posterior ligaments were transferred to the facets. This led to an imbalance of the stresses on the spinal bodies, causing deformity. The gravitational center of the head determined whether the deformity would develop as a kyphosis or increasing lordosis. As the elastic modulus of the soft tissue composites (eg, end plates, ligaments, and facets) increased, a kyphotic deformity changed gradually from swan-neck deformity, to extreme kyphotic deformity with a large curvature, and finally to a straightening deformity. Progressive kyphotic deformity is found only in children.

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