The effect of multi-level laminoplasty and laminectomy on the biomechanics of the cervical spine: a finite element study

Swathi Kode, Nicole A Kallemeyn, Joseph D Smucker, Douglas C Fredericks, Nicole M Grosland
Iowa Orthopaedic Journal 2014, 34: 150-7
Laminectomy has been regarded as a standard treatment for multi-level cervical stenosis. Concern for complications such as kyphosis has limited the indication of multi-level laminectomy; hence it is often augmented with an instrumented fusion. Laminoplasty has emerged as a motion preserving alternative. The purpose of this study was to compare the multidirectional flexibility of the cervical spine in response to a plate-only open door laminoplasty, double door laminoplasty, and laminectomy using a computational model. A validated three-dimensional finite element model of a specimen-specific intact cervical spine (C2-T1) was modified to simulate each surgical procedure at levels C3-C6. An additional goal of this work was to compare the instrumented computational model to our multi-specimen experimental findings to ensure similar trends in response to the surgical procedures. Model predictions indicate that mobility was retained following open and double door laminoplasty with a 5.4% and 20% increase in flexion, respectively, compared to the intact state. Laminectomy resulted in 57% increase in flexion as compared to the intact state, creating a concern for eventual kyphosis--a known risk/complication of multi-level laminectomy in the absence of fusion. Increased disc stresses were observed at the altered and adjacent segments post-laminectomy in flexion.

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