COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Biomechanics of lateral lumbar interbody fusion constructs with lateral and posterior plate fixation: laboratory investigation

Guy R Fogel, Rachit D Parikh, Stephen I Ryu, Alexander W L Turner
Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine 2014, 20 (3): 291-7
24405464

OBJECT: Lumbar interbody fusion is indicated in the treatment of degenerative conditions. Laterally inserted interbody cages significantly decrease range of motion (ROM) compared with other cages. Supplemental fixation options such as lateral plates or spinous process plates have been shown to provide stability and to reduce morbidity. The authors of the current study investigate the in vitro stability of the interbody cage with a combination of lateral and spinous process plate fixation and compare this method to the established bilateral pedicle screw fixation technique.

METHODS: Ten L1-5 specimens were evaluated using multidirectional nondestructive moments (± 7.5 N · m), with a custom 6 degrees-of-freedom spine simulator. Intervertebral motions (ROM) were measured optoelectronically. Each spine was evaluated under the following conditions at the L3-4 level: intact; interbody cage alone (stand-alone); cage supplemented with lateral plate; cage supplemented with ipsilateral pedicle screws; cage supplemented with bilateral pedicle screws; cage supplemented with spinous process plate; and cage supplemented with a combination of lateral plate and spinous process plate. Intervertebral rotations were calculated, and ROM data were normalized to the intact ROM data.

RESULTS: The stand-alone laterally inserted interbody cage significantly reduced ROM with respect to the intact state in flexion-extension (31.6% intact ROM, p < 0.001), lateral bending (32.5%, p < 0.001), and axial rotation (69.4%, p = 0.002). Compared with the stand-alone condition, addition of a lateral plate to the interbody cage did not significantly alter the ROM in flexion-extension (p = 0.904); however, it was significantly decreased in lateral bending and axial rotation (p < 0.001). The cage supplemented with a lateral plate was not statistically different from bilateral pedicle screws in lateral bending (p = 0.579). Supplemental fixation using a spinous process plate was not significantly different from bilateral pedicle screws in flexion-extension (p = 0.476). The combination of lateral plate and spinous process plate was not statistically different from the cage supplemented with bilateral pedicle screws in all the loading modes (p ≥ 0.365).

CONCLUSIONS: A combination of lateral and spinous process plate fixation to supplement a laterally inserted interbody cage helps achieve rigidity in all motion planes similar to that achieved with bilateral pedicle screws.

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