Feasibility and biomechanical performance of a novel transdiscal screw system for one level in non-spondylolisthetic lumbar fusion: an in vitro investigation

Kamran Aghayev, Sabrina A Gonzalez-Blohm, James J Doulgeris, William E Lee, Jason K Waddell, Frank D Vrionis
Spine Journal: Official Journal of the North American Spine Society 2014, 14 (4): 705-13

BACKGROUND CONTEXT: The bilateral pedicle screw system (BPSS) is currently the "gold standard" fusion technique for spinal instability. A new stabilization system that provides the same level of stability through a less invasive procedure will have a high impact on clinical practice. A new transdiscal screw system is investigated as a promising minimally invasive device.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the feasibility of a novel transdiscal screw in spinal fixation as an alternative to BPSS, with and without an interbody cage, in non-spondylolisthesis cases.

STUDY DESIGN: An in vitro biomechanical study in lumbar cadaveric spines.

METHODS: Twelve lumbar cadaveric segments (L4-S1) were tested under flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). Six treatments were simulated as follows: (1) intact, (2) bilateral facetectomy at L4-L5, (3) transdiscal screw system, (4) BPSS, (5) BPSS with transforaminal lumbar interbody cage, and (6) transdiscal screws with transforaminal interbody cage. Specimens were randomly divided into two testing groups: Group 1 (n=6) was tested under the first five conditions, in the order presented, whereas Group 2 (n=6) was tested under the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth conditions, with the fourth condition preceding the third. Range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone stiffness (NZS) were estimated and normalized with respect to the intact condition to explore statistical differences among treatments using non-parametric approaches.

RESULTS: Significant differences in FE ROM were observed in the pedicle screws-cage condition with respect to the facetectomy (p<.01), the pedicle screw (p=.03), and the transdiscal screw (p<.02) conditions. All fixation constructs significantly restricted LB and AR ROM (p<.01) with respect to facetectomy. In terms of stiffness, the pedicle screw and the transdiscal screw systems increased (p<.01) LB and AR NZS with respect to facetectomy. The pedicle screws-cage condition significantly increased flexion and extension stiffness with respect to all other conditions (p<.05). However, LB NZS for the pedicle screws-cage and the transdiscal screws-cage condition could not be explored due to a testing order bias effect. There was not enough evidence to state any difference between the pedicle and transdiscal screw conditions in terms of ROM or NZS.

CONCLUSIONS: Transdiscal and pedicle screw systems showed comparable in vitro biomechanical performance in the immediate stabilization of a complete bilateral facetectomy. The pedicle screws-cage condition was the most stable in FE motion; however, comparison with respect to the transdiscal screws-cage condition could not be investigated.

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