JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Kinematic evaluation of one- and two-level Maverick lumbar total disc replacement caudal to a long thoracolumbar spinal fusion.

PURPOSE: Adjacent level degeneration that occurs above and/or below long fusion constructs is a documented clinical problem that is widely believed to be associated with the considerable change in stiffness caused by the fusion. Some researchers have suggested that early degeneration at spinal joints adjacent to a fusion could be treated by implanting total disc replacements at these levels. It is thought that further degeneration could be prevented through the disc replacement's design aims to reproduce normal disc heights, kinematics and tissue loading. For this reason, there is a clinical need to evaluate if a total disc replacement can maintain both the quantity of motion (i.e. range) and the quality of motion (i.e. center of rotation and coupling) at segments adjacent to a long spinal fusion. The purpose of this study was to experimentally evaluate range of motion (ROM-the intervertebral motion measured) and helical axis of motion (HAM) changes due to one- and two-level Maverick total disc replacement (TDR) adjacent to a long spinal fusion.

METHODS: Seven spine specimens (T8-S1) were used in this study (66 ± 19 years old, 3F/4 M). A continuous pure moment of ±5.0 Nm was applied to the specimen in flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB) and axial rotation (AR), with a compressive follower preload of 400 N. The 5.0 Nm data were analyzed to evaluate the operated segment biomechanics at the level of the disc replacements. The data were also analyzed at lower moments using a modified version of Panjabi's proposed "hybrid" method to evaluate adjacent segment kinematics (intervertebral motion at the segments adjacent to the fusion) under identical overall (T8-S1) specimen rotations. The motion of each vertebra was monitored with an optoelectronic camera system. The biomechanical test was completed for (1) the intact condition and repeated after each surgical technique was applied to the specimen, (2) capsulotomy at L4-L5 and L5-S1, (3) T8-L4 fusion and capsulotomy at L4-L5 and L5-S1, (4) Maverick at L4-L5, and (5) Maverick at L5-S1. The capsulotomy was performed to allow measurement of facet joint loads in a companion study. Paired t tests were used to determine if differences in the kinematic parameters measured were significant. Holm-Sidak corrections for multiple comparisons were applied where appropriate.

RESULTS: Under the 5.0 Nm loads, L4-L5 ROMs tended to decrease in all directions following L4-L5 Maverick replacement (mean = 22 %, compared to the fused condition). Two-level Maverick implantation also tended to reduce L4-S1 ROM (mean 18, 7 and 31 % in FE, LB and AR, respectively, compared to the fused condition without TDR). Following TDR replacement, the HAM location tended to shift posteriorly in FE (at L5-S1), anteriorly in AR, and inferiorly in LB. However, although the above-mentioned trends were observed, neither one- nor two-level TDR replacement showed statistically significant ROM or HAM change in any of the three directions. At the identical T8-S1 posture identified by the modified hybrid analysis, the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels underwent significant larger motions, relative to the overall specimen rotation, after fusion. In the hybrid analysis, there were no significant differences between the ROM after fusion with intact natural discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 and the motions at those levels with one or two TDRs implanted.

CONCLUSIONS: The present results demonstrated that one or two Maverick discs implanted subjacent to a long thoracolumbar fusion preserved considerable and intact-like ranges of motion and maintained motion patterns similar to the intact specimen, in this ex vivo study with applied pure moments and compressive follower preload. The hybrid analysis demonstrated that, after fusion, the TDR-implanted levels are required to undergo large rotations, relative to those necessary before fusion, in order to achieve the same motion between T8 and S1. Additional clinical and biomechanical research is necessary to determine if such a kinematic demand would be made on these levels clinically and the biomechanical performance of these implants if it were.

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