A Comparative Biomechanical Analysis of Stand Alone Versus Facet Screw and Pedicle Screw Augmented Lateral Interbody Arthrodesis: An In Vitro Human Cadaveric Model

Ryan M Kretzer, Camilo Molina, Nianbin Hu, Hidemasa Umekoji, Ali A Baaj, Hassan Serhan, Bryan W Cunningham
Clinical Spine Surgery 2016, 29 (7): E336-43

STUDY DESIGN: Cadaveric biomechanical study.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the kinematic response of a stand-alone lateral lumbar interbody cage compared with supplemental posterior fixation with either facet or pedicle screws after lateral discectomy.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Lateral interbody fusion is a promising minimally invasive fixation technique for lumbar interbody arthrodesis. The biomechanical stability of stand-alone cage placement compared with supplemental posterior fixation with either facet or bilateral pedicle screws remains unclear.

METHODS: A 6-degree of freedom spine simulator was used to test flexibility in 7 human cadaveric specimens. Flexion-extension, lateral-bending, and axial-rotation were tested in the intact condition, followed by destabilization through a lateral discectomy at L2-L3 and L4-L5. Specimens were then reconstructed at both operative segments in the following sequence: (1) lateral interbody cage placement; (2) either Discovery facet screws or the Viper F2 system using a transfacet-pedicular trajectory randomized to L2-L3 or L4-L5; and (3) removal of facet screw fixation followed by placement of bilateral pedicle screw instrumentation. Acute range of motion (ROM) was quantified and analyzed.

RESULTS: All 4 reconstruction groups, including stand-alone interbody cage placement, bilateral Discovery facet screws, the Viper F2 system, and bilateral pedicle screw-rod stabilization, resulted in a significant decrease in acute ROM in all loading modes tested (P<0.05). There were no significant differences observed between the 4 instrumentation groups (P>0.05). Although not statistically significant, the Viper F2 system resulted in greatest reduction of acute ROM in both flexion-extension and axial rotation versus all other treatments (P>0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Stand-alone interbody cage placement results in a significant reduction in acute ROM at the operative segment in the absence of posterior supplemental fixation. If added fixation is desired, facet screw placement, including the Viper F2 facet screw system using an integrated compression washer and transfacet-pedicular trajectory, provides similar acute stability to the spinal segment compared with traditional bilateral pedicle screw fixation in the setting of lateral interbody cage deployment.

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