Biomechanics of lateral plate and pedicle screw constructs in lumbar spines instrumented at two levels with laterally placed interbody cages

Aniruddh N Nayak, Sergio Gutierrez, James B Billys, Brandon G Santoni, Antonio E Castellvi
Spine Journal: Official Journal of the North American Spine Society 2013, 13 (10): 1331-8

BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The lateral transpsoas approach to interbody fusion is gaining popularity because of its minimally invasive nature and resultant indirect neurologic decompression. The acute biomechanical stability of the lateral approach to interbody fusion is dependent on the type of supplemental internal fixation used. The two-hole lateral plate (LP) has been approved for clinical use for added stabilization after cage instrumentation. However, little biomechanical data exist comparing LP fixation with bilateral pedicle screw and rod (PSR) fixation.

PURPOSE: To biomechanically compare the acute stabilizing effects of the two-hole LP and bilateral PSR fusion constructs in lumbar spines instrumented with a lateral cage at two contiguous levels.

STUDY DESIGN: Biomechanical laboratory study of human cadaveric lumbar spines.

METHODS: Eighteen L1-S1 cadaveric lumbar spines were instrumented with lateral cages at L3-L4 and L4-L5 after intact kinematic analysis. Specimens (n=9 each) were allocated for supplemental instrumentation with either LP or PSR. Intact versus instrumented range of motion was evaluated for all specimens by applying pure moments (±7.5 Nm) in flexion/extension, lateral bending (LB) (left+right), and axial rotation (AR) (left+right). Instrumented spines were later subjected to 500 cycles of loading in all three planes, and interbody cage translations were quantified using a nonradiographic technique.

RESULTS: Lateral plate fixation significantly reduced ROM (p<.05) at both lumbar levels (flexion/extension: 49.5%; LB: 67.3%; AR: 48.2%) relative to the intact condition. Pedicle screw and rod fixation afforded the greatest ROM reductions (p<.05) relative to the intact condition (flexion/extension: 85.6%; LB: 91.4%; AR: 61.1%). On average, the largest interbody cage translations were measured in both fixation groups in the anterior-posterior direction during cyclic AR.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on these biomechanical findings, PSR fixation maximizes stability after lateral interbody cage placement. The nonradiographic technique served to quantify migration of implanted hardware and may be implemented as an effective laboratory tool for surgeons and engineers to better understand mechanical behavior of spinal implants.

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